To aid thousands of Gulf Coast evacuees and people eager to help them in different states, the FBI is allowing free background checks using its criminal history database.

This service is meant to give peace of mind to Hurricane Katrina evacuees seeking shelter in strangers’ homes and hiring people to help them rebuild their lives. It also allows those offering shelter to make background checks on the people they’re taking in.

The FBI is only allowing local sheriff's offices or a designated agency to access the database, so people interested in the service will be contacting their local law enforcement agencies to find out more and utilize the service.

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