Thursday, September 01, 2005

Texas Shelters Fill With Katrina's Survivors

They lost their homes. Now some Hurricane Katrina survivors are losing their hotel rooms.
"We have nowhere to go. We're actually getting put out of here, and we're willing to pay to stay. It's just ridiculous," said Kim Bacchus, 39, part of a group of about 15 family members from New Orleans who were not allowed to book additional nights at a Super 8 Motel in Houston.
The shortage of hotel rooms for Katrina victims is igniting already short fuses and increasing the pressures of aid workers across Texas. Thousands of survivors sought refuge in the state after flooding forced evacuations in New Orleans.Texas, but shelters were known to be open in Houston, Dallas, Austin and cities all along the Texas-Louisiana border.
People began arriving at Reunion Arena in downtown Dallas, where the city's Red Cross shelter operations were being consolidated, hours before it was ready to open Wednesday. Cots, blankets, feeding areas were being set up on the main floor of the former home of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.
"We're going to have several hundred at least," Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster said.
Foster said she expected the number to grow as Labor Day weekend approached and hotels asked people to leave to make room for customers, many other evacuees, with reservations.
"By the time we put everyone to bed last night, we had more than 400 in Dallas. We had calls from hotels all day long, saying 'we have evacuees'," she said. "We're working … to make sure we are all prepared to care for them."
The Rev. James Thomas of Rhema Life Fellowship Church in Plano visited another Dallas shelter to offer counseling and let refugees know that some of his members were willing to open their homes....


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