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Austin is ready to close its shelter for Harvey evacuees

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by KUT News

Austin’s centralized shelter for Hurricane Harvey evacuees at the Met Center could close by the end of the week. About 170 people remain at the South Austin shelter. It held as many as 400 evacuees after the storm, which brought record flooding in Houston and devastated parts of the Gulf Coast and Southeast Texas.

Travis County Executive for Emergency Services Josh Davies told the Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday that they’re focused on giving all evacuees at the shelter what he called an “exit strategy” that would link them with ongoing resources “with the intent to discontinue efforts likely by the weekend.”

Travis County is helping to coordinate transportation to bring people either to their homes, or at least closer to their homes.

“There might be a shelter closer to their home that’s available,” said Paul Hopingardner with the city of Austin. “In some cases, people are staying here in Austin. As many of you know, there’s a significant challenge finding affordable housing in the Austin area, so they’re working with all the local partners to attempt to find those.”

The city initially set up shelters at the Wilhelmina Delco Center, the Toney Burger Center and LBJ High School before housing evacuees at the Met Center. While the state had advised Austin to prepare for as many as 7,000 evacuees, about 600 occupied city shelters after the storm.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT.

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