Life after Harvey: Thousands of families living in hotels

We?re three weeks into life after Harvey. And while the ?mega shelter? at the George R. Brown Convention Center is now closed, thousands of people still don?t have a permanent place to call home.

HOUSTON - We’re three weeks into life after Harvey. Although the “mega shelter” at the George R. Brown Convention Center is now closed, thousands of people still don’t have a permanent place to call home.

“I’ve been here about two and a half weeks,” said Diamond Nelson. 

She’s 7 months pregnant and has a 2-year-old son. Along with her husband, the Nelson’s have stayed at the Best Western in the Galleria for nearly three weeks.

Finding a vacancy at the hotel was no easy feat. Nelson said she called 26 different hotels before she found a room available at the Best Western.

While FEMA can help with temporary housing assistance, either through a hotel or an apartment complex, it’s up to the storm victim to do the leg work.

You can search all hotels that work with FEMA here.

The database shows the contact information from each hotel across a state. But, the person then needs to call and make sure there’s a vacancy.  FEMA approves up to four people per a hotel room.

“So on a day-to-day basis, at 12 O’clock when check out comes, sometimes we have people who want to extend and then we have people who are looking to leave,” said Heather Seely-Perez, Director of Sales for The Best Western Galleria.

The temporary housing assistance runs in 30-day increments for hotels, two-month increments for temporary housing at apartment complexes. It’s up to the FEMA applicant to ask FEMA for an extension if longer stints of temporary housing are needed.

The Nelson’s say their FEMA housing assistance is set to end on Sept. 27.

“I’m trying to get an extension now," said Nelson. "So, you know, like I said, it’s just day by day.”

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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