Shelter Information

Find Out When & Which Shelters are Open

Know your Zone Opens in new windowAnnouncements will be made when emergency shelters are opened. You can find out about specific shelter openings, availability, and hours of operations by monitoring:

Please note that not all shelters may be open during an event or state of emergency.

Residents or business owners located in low lying areas or beside tidal bodies of water should seek shelter elsewhere if conditions warrant.

Norfolk Shelter Locations

Shelters are located at select schools and community centers throughout the city and are only opened as needed. Residents should check local / social media to locate the closest shelter relative to their location that is open. View a map of the shelter locations (PDF) within the limits of the City of Norfolk. The map does not indicate the status of a shelter.

Shelter Expectations

An Emergency Shelter should be considered lifeboat not a cruise ship! Shelters are intended to be a last-resort option to your personal preparedness plan. Often situated in public schools or recreation centers, they are intended to provide a roof over your head during an emergency situation.

What to Expect

  • Transportation to a shelter is available upon request. If you are in an evacuation zone and in need of transportation, call the Norfolk Cares Call Center at 757-641-6510. A handicap-accessible school bus will be dispatched to your location.
  • Security is on site.
  • You may be asked to assist in shelter operations. There may be times where there is not enough city staff to manage and operate all facets of a given shelter. Volunteers will be sought to assist.
  • Do not expect a cot. In most cases you will be provided a spot on a gymnasium floor. As such, you are encouraged to bring inflatable bedding. Find additional recommended items (PDF).
  • Meals are generously provided by Norfolk Public Schools. The meals in their inventory for the school year calendar are prepared and delivered to the shelters. If you have special dietary needs, you should plan accordingly.
  • View the shelter rules (PDF).

Special Accommodations

  • Caretakers are strongly encouraged to pre-plan with their clients / family members and accompany them if evacuation to a shelter is necessary.
  • Service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are permitted in all shelters.
  • All shelters are ADA-compliant public schools or government recreation centers.
  • Signage is available throughout all shelters.
  • All shelters have mental health professionals on site.
  • Every effort will be made to accommodate access, functional and medical needs. However, if during shelter registration an individual is identified to have a medical need greater than what is available at that particular shelter, they will be presented with other shelter options they may consider. Depending on the need, this may involve transport to a "medically-friendly" shelter, a partnering healthcare facility or a hospital.

If you have any questions about shelter accommodations, please call 757-441-5600.

Pet Friendly Shelters

Norfolk will open pet friendly shelters as needed. Like the other shelters, it will be announced when the shelter is available and accepting pets. Be sure to bring your pet's shelter permitted vaccine record and provisions (PDF).

Shelter Privacy

Every effort is made to protect the personal information of those in the shelter, particularly children, those with various abilities or vulnerabilities, those who are experiencing homelessness, undocumented persons, and those otherwise unable to advocate for themselves or who do not want to find themselves on camera or someone's social media site. Any media interviews granted will take place outside the shelter.