Register for special needs shelter in advance

Posted 5/16/23

Hendry County Emergency has information for individuals that may require a special needs shelter during a hurricane ...

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Register for special needs shelter in advance


LABELLE -- Hendry County Emergency has information for individuals that may require a special needs shelter during a hurricane or other natural disaster. You can find detailed information on its website here:

The following information is from the Hendry County Emergency Management website:

Information for Hendry and Glades County residents with qualifying special/medical needs are encouraged to apply for registration as a Special Needs person. A Special Needs Shelter (SpNS) is for "someone who during periods of evacuation or emergency, requires sheltering assistance, due to physical impairment, mental impairment, cognitive impairment or sensory disabilities.”

Chapter 64-3, Florida Administrative Code The Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Preparedness and Response administers a statewide Special Needs Shelter Program to assist County Health Departments in addressing the special medical needs of people in their community. It is important to apply in advance for this program so, if qualified, you will be on the county’s registry for sheltering at a Special Needs Evacuation Shelter during a disaster. Pre-registration helps us to help you when time is limited.

Eligibility for Special Needs Shelters

  • People with special medical needs
  • People whose care exceeds the basic first aid provided at general population shelters
  • People with impairments or disabilities who are medically stable and do not require medical care
  • People with disabilities are not required to go to a Special Needs Shelter. Some people with disabilities can be safely accommodated in a general population shelter

All Special Needs Shelter participants must bring a caregiver with them  to the designated Special Needs shelter. The caregiver must be able to:

  • Assist you with all activities of daily living, including dressing and toileting.
  • Lift you to/from toilet and cot and wheelchair as needed.
  • Assist you with walking (with or without walker), assist with wheelchair.
  • Transport food from cafeteria to you as needed.
  • Assist with medication and any treatments as needed.
  • Monitor your oxygen usage.
  • Provide evacuation center management with a discharge plan in the event the you cannot return to your home.

You are permitted to bring your spouse/significant other and dependents (limited to high school age and below, living in same household) with you in addition to your caregiver. Many times the caregiver is a spouse/significant other; please be sure that they can fulfill the caregiver responsibilities outlined above.

There is no guarantee that household members will be housed in the same room as you or that bedding/cots are will be available for them.

Pets may be accepted at a Special Needs Shelter.  Hendry County Emergency Management advises that pets that are accepted will be kept in a separate area.

All pets must be current on vaccinations and have all necessary supplies (crate, food, etc.).

If you do not wish to be separated from your pet you may want to consider evacuating to a pet friendly hotel outside of the evacuation zone.

Once accepted into the Special Needs Program you will be advised by Emergency Management and informed of that shelters pet policy.

A Special Needs Shelter is located in the LJ Nobles Senior Center - 475 East Cowboy Way, LaBelle, Florida (Just East of the LaBelle Airport). 

Note that weapons, smoking and alcoholic beverages are prohibited at all shelters.

Registration in advance with the Special Needs Program is required but does not guarantee you will be assigned a space in the Special Needs Shelter.  our application will be reviewed by the Department of Health, and you will be assigned to a shelter where your needs can be managed.  

Applications may be completed online or by paper (fax or snail mail). To download a copy of the application or to register go here:

To enroll in English click here:

To enroll in Spanish click here:

Paper applications may be mailed, emailed or faxed to Hendry County Emergency Management. Email to (it is recommended to submit applications early in the season as applications aren’t processed when Hendry County eners the five-day forecast cone of a storm).

To apply by mail, send to Hendry County Emergency Management, P.O. Box 340, LaBelle, Fla., 33975.

Fax your application to Hendry County Emergency Management to 863-674-4040.

Hendry County Emergency Management has compiled a checklist of things special needs individuals should include in their preparedness packs here:

Hendry County Emergency Management, special needs shelter, hurricane