HOUSTON - The City of Houston is working to clear the George R. Brown Convention Center of people who needed shelter after Hurricane Harvey. At the height of the need, nearly 11,000 people sought shelter at the downtown facility.
Now, with the help of federal funding, all those people are being moved to other locations. They can stay with loved ones, or at hotels and apartments that can accept FEMA housing vouchers.
The American Red Cross is also working to open a shelter at a Houston Community College facility along Fannin near the south loop. An estimated 800 people will be bussed from the GRB to the HCC location.
The rest, 296 people, will stay at the Residences at Emancipation for at least the next six months.
The Residences at Emancipation was formally a Star of Hope emergency shelter for women and children.
Each room has four beds and a full bath. Families are housed together, married couples are paired together and individuals are grouped together.
Claude Thebeau is bunking with three of his buddies.
“I was underneath a bridge,” said Thebeau. He was homeless when Harvey’s rain bands dropped several feet of water over Houston. “This is the first hurricane I’ve gone through and I’m happy that I survived it.”
For four days he braved Harvey’s wrath, then found shelter at the GRB. Friday night, he was bussed to the Residences at Emancipation.
Hot meals are provided for those staying at the shelter. They’re as simple at hot dogs and fruit.
“But at least I have a bed to sleep on. And it’s very peaceful at night, you can actually go to sleep without hearing anyone around you. I’m just happy,” said Thebeau.
Thebeau said he prayed for years to find a way off the streets. “When I knew that I was coming here it was like, all my prayers were answered.”
The 61-year-old hopes to use this opportunity to find a job and reconnect with society.
“From going to sleeping under a bridge to coming here, it’s a big deal!” he said.