Menino rolls out info on Haiti response plan

City to open resource center for local families and offer direct outreach to Haiti

Editor's note: The following is a press release issued by Mayor Tom Menino's office at 5:40 p.m. today:

Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced this afternoon that the City of Boston,
in conjunction with a number of community partners, would begin
mobilizing resources to assist the victims and families impacted by the
magnitude-7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti yesterday. In an outreach
effort aimed directly at victims in Haiti as well as local families with
ties to the country, a number of city agencies will work with partner
organizations to open a local resource center for Boston's Haitian
community in addition to sending direct assistance to Haiti.

Tonight, Mayor Menino and other officials will join State
Representatives Marie St. Fleur and Linda Dorcena-Forry, two leaders in
Boston's Haitian community with whom the Mayor is closely coordinating,
at a meeting they are hosting for Boston's Haitian community at 7 p.m.
at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in the South End.

"Boston's ties to Haiti are very deep, and our thoughts and prayers go
out not only to the victims of this tragedy, but also to the Haitian
community in our city whose loved ones have been affected by the
disaster," Mayor Menino said. "On behalf of the City of Boston, I offer
my deepest condolences to those impacted by this horrible tragedy. As a
city, we will come together to support the Haitian community both here
in Boston and abroad in any way possible."

Mayor Menino has organized a team of public and private partners to
accomplish three primary assistance objectives:

1. Open a resource center for local families seeking information and assistance.
2. Establish a relief fund to help support local families with relatives in
3. Offer search and rescue resources to Haitian officials, including both
equipment and personnel.

Community partners as well as staff from city agencies such as the
Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) are in the process of setting up
the resource center for local families impacted by the earthquake. The
center will be operated out of SEIU Local 1199, located at 150 Mount
Vernon Street in Dorchester. It will begin operating tomorrow from 9
a.m. and 9 p.m. and remain open throughout the weekend and possibly into
next week, depending on need. Translators, crisis councilors,
computers, and phone lines will be available for local families in need
of assistance. Individuals looking for more information can contact the
center by calling (617) 284-1199.

The relief fund for local families with ties to Haiti, named the "Fund
for Boston Neighborhoods, Inc. - Haitian Family Relief," will be
administered by Bank of America. Donations to the fund can be made by
visiting any local Bank of America branch.

The Mayor's Office of Emergency Preparedness is coordinating with state
and federal authorities to make disaster medical assistance teams (DMAT)
available to assist Haiti with search and rescue efforts. Urban search
and rescue teams from Boston are also at the ready to assist, and the
city has offered to lend approximately $1 million in search and rescue
equipment to emergency responders in Haiti.

Given Boston's sizeable Haitian community, the Boston Public Schools
(BPS) arranged today for crisis counselors to be present at schools and
educational complexes with large populations of Haitian immigrants and
Haitian-American students and faculty. Counselors were dispatched to
the West Roxbury Education Complex, the Hyde Park Education Complex,
Tech Boston Academy, Taylor Elementary, and Kenny Elementary. The
school department also made automated calls to Haitian Creole speaking
families to inform them of the community meeting and information session
tonight at the Cathedral.

Under Mayor Menino's leadership, Superintendent Carol R. Johnson will
ensure that BPS students and families impacted by the tragedy can take
advantage of all available resources. "During this difficult time, our
first priority is the emotional and physical well-being of our
students," Superintendent Johnson said. "We have many students with
ties to Haiti and we know that they and their families are waiting to
connect with their loved ones. The Boston Public Schools community is
ready and able to help our students cope with this crisis."

Other resources for families impacted by the earthquake include:
· The State Department's information line: Individuals seeking information
about family members living in Haiti are encouraged to call 1-888-407-4747. Press
zero (0) to speak with a customer service representative.
· The White House's official website,, offers general information about the
earthquake and relief efforts in Haiti.

Other ways to assist victims of the tragedy include:
· Visit for a list of
credible responding organizations that accept donations for international
· Reputable organizations include: Partners in Health
(; International Red Cross
(; Catholic Relief Services

Individuals can make $10 donations to the Red Cross by texting "HAITI"
to "90999." These donations will be charged to an individual's cell
phone bill.

Information about the city's assistance efforts can be found at: