MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) – The University of Louisiana at Monroe and the City of Monroe are working together to improve local shelters, and provide better quality care during natural disasters.

During a recent trip to Washington D.C., the university and the city met with federal and state delegations to talk about current and future funding to improve local facilities when it comes to disaster preparedness.

Mayor Friday Ellis said the city is a receiving community that needs to better serve people who retreat north from natural disasters.

Ellis says other improvements will include separate shower facilities for women and children, a dining facility, and clothes washing stations.

“We do know that our Civic Center and AC units are not meant to stay on for 7 or 14 days at a time. We were using closets as makeshift pharmacies, so we want to better prepare for that,” said Ellis. “So, we learned a lesson. We want to be proactive about it and work with our federal delegation, and state delegation to be able to stand up and be sure that we have proper restrooms. As Mother Nature showed us, this could be local disasters, and this could be statewide or national disasters where folks could seek shelter here in Monroe. And like I said, as long as they are here in Monroe, they are citizens, and we want to provide the best care for them.”

Mayor Ellis says ULM and the city want to change the conversation about what quality care should look like.