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Published: Friday, 9/2/2005

Toledo forum to explore assistance for survivors

A call has gone out to cities across the nation to help with the plight of towns struck hard by Hurricane Katrina.

Toledo city officials yesterday participated in a conference call organized by the United States Conference of Mayors, during which dozens of mayors from California to New Jersey heard first-hand from their counterparts down south.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency was also on hand to state the region's needs in the starkest of terms.

With the prospect of New Orleans staying underwater for the next six months, the agency pointed out that 500,000 residents from that city alone would need somewhere to stay.

The Ford administration ordered its Department of Economic and Community Development to conduct a regional assessment of the city's housing - including vacancies at area nursing homes, hospitals, and other care facilities - which will eventually submitted to FEMA.

Toledo city officials related how many mayors of smaller cities in Mississippi and Louisiana - some of them telling their stories in tears - felt they were getting very little relief or attention.

City officials will hold a forum in City Council chambers at 2 p.m. tomorrow for area church leaders, or any organization members who wish to attend, to put them in contact with agencies involved in the hurricane relief effort.

The city has received dozens of calls from individuals and churches wondering how they can help.

Rather than go down alone, the city urged would-be benefactors to link up with agencies like the Red Cross, so they don't become more of a liability than a help.



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