The last 900 Hurricane Harvey evacuees taking shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston have been relocated as the site returns to regular business. Hundreds of evacuees remain in Dallas while Fort Worth relocated evacuees and closed their shelter Monday.
Houston Moves Evacuees, Closes Convention Center Shelter
Houston Housing and Community Development Department spokeswoman Jocklynn Keville said Monday that most of those evacuees were moved to a Houston Community College warehouse outfitted as a shelter.
Keville said the rest moved over the weekend to a nonprofit group's Residences at Emancipation and also to the Chinese Community Center.
Harvey made landfall Aug. 25 in South Texas. Torrential rain swamped parts of Houston. Mayor Sylvester Turner on Aug. 27 announced the George R. Brown Convention Center would be a shelter. The site eventually housed more than 10,000 evacuees.
Keville said a nearly $10 million federal grant will help fund interim housing.
Fort Worth Moves Evacuees, Closes Shelter
Fort Worth's shelter, which had housed evacuees since before Labor Day, closed Monday, Sept. 18. The city said Monday that 47 people stayed at the shelter the night before.
A bus carrying as many as 53 people left Fort Worth for Port Aransas at 1 p.m. Monday.
Those heading home were leaving with a new love for Fort Worth and the people who welcomed them in.
"We came here with nothing, and they helped us out with clothes, food every day, somewhere to sleep," said Port Arthur evacuee Shaquisha Hunter.
Fourteen other families have decided to stay.
"A fresh start, and my daughter, she likes the school out here," said Kirsten Comeaux.
Comeaux spent three weeks in the shelter with five young children and hopes for a steadier future in Fort Worth.
"New place, new jobs, kids in new schools. Just a better life period," Comeaux said.
Catholic Charities is putting her family up in a hotel, along with the other families choosing to stay. That's a temporary solution until they receive their FEMA vouchers to cover rent.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price visited with evacuees Monday before they left.
"The community has just given and given and given, and the people felt that," Price said. "They all have been very positive about their experiences."
She added that the city is prepared to take in everyone who wants to stay. Officials are working with Fort Worth Housing Solutions and the Fort Worth ISD to provide transportation to area schools for children until they find permanent housing.
Officials said 24 people are headed back to the coast to collect what remains of their belongings, and they will then return to North Texas where they plan to live going forward.
Fort Worth officials said the city hosted 247 evacuees for 22 days, during which Red Cross volunteers logged 9,000 hours of work, Citizen Emergency Response Team volunteers logged 2,600 hours of work, while the Salvation Army served thousands of meals.
The city released the following agencies and companies who contributed products, services and volunteer time to shelter operations: City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, FWISD, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Church without Walls, MHMR, Catholic Charities, Goodwill, Tarrant County VOAD, Blue Mesa Grill, Cabela’s, CAPA – Clergy and Police Alliance, Childcare Associates, Children’s Defense Fund, Cook Children’s Medical Center, Dunkin' Donuts, ECI, Fort Worth Museum of Science and History/OMNI Theater, Fort Worth Police Department Explorers, Fort Worth Zoo, In-N-Out Burgers, JCPenney, Junior League of Fort Worth, Kona Ice, Movie Tavern, Pet Therapy, Primary Readiness, Resource Recovery Council, Tarrant County Food Bank, TCU, Verizon and Z’s Café.
Dallas Shelter Expected to Close This Week
In Dallas, the American Red Cross said Monday more than 500 evacuees are still taking shelter at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center while another five dozen are being housed at the Wilkerson-Greines Recreation Center.
Approximately 622 Hurricane Harvey evacuees remain in shelters in Dallas, but they are expected to be taken by bus back to the coast beginning Tuesday and the shelters are expected to be closed Wednesday.
SPCA Works With DAS to Shelter Pets
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is working with Dallas Animal Services to shelter pets. SPCA will collect pets as the evacuees are being registered into a shelter. Sisters in Christ Riding Group - Horse shelter locations in Central and North Texas.
Red Cross Update
The American Red Cross said they are providing financial assistance to the residents of 39 counties affected by Harvey.
"Right now, we are in the initial phase of this effort. On Monday, September 11, we provided $45 million in financial assistance to more than 100,000 households who needed immediate help," said the Red Cross. "We are experiencing an exceedingly high demand, and ask that people please be patient. The Red Cross is prepared to provide financial assistance to hundreds of thousands of households."
The Red Cross said they'll soon share information on how those affected by the hurricane can register for aid online. Once registration is open, registration will need to be completed within 30 days.
"This financial assistance is in addition to the other emergency relief efforts the Red Cross is providing in Texas, which includes sheltering, food and other critical immediate support; we have been on the ground in Texas since before Harvey made landfall, and will be to get those affected back on their feet," the Red Cross said. "The Red Cross is a charity, not a government agency, and people do not need to be American citizens to receive our assistance."
Those who wish to make a donation to Harvey recovery can text Harvey to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations can also be made by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS and by going to redcross.org. The charity produced the following video for those concerned about how donations made to the charity are used. See the video here.
NBC5's Alice Barr contributed to this report.