A rural east-central Missouri county is putting together a special needs registry as a pilot project that could eventually go state wide.
Audrain County received a $31,000 federal grant to develop the special needs registry, a listing of county residents who are handicapped or have trouble getting around due to ill health.
Audrain County Emergency Management Director Sarah Williams says many live in nursing homes, but not all.
“There is a certain percentage of the population that lives independently in housing in a very rural, very isolated area, out on the farm so to speak,” Williams says. “Individuals who still live on their own, but may have some mobility issues or other issues that would require assistance in the event of an emergency.”
Williams says the special needs registry is both a planning tool and a response tool.
“We have a better picture of where we need to go, what we need to serve and how we’re going to go about doing it,” according to Williams.
St. Louis began compiling a special needs registry two years ago. Audrain County is the first rural county to work on one. It is working with Innovated Data Systems to put together the registry. If seen as successful, the program could go state wide.