DALLAS (CBS11) – Storm weary hurricane evacuees are on the move again. The so-called ‘Mega-Shelter’ at Dallas’ Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center is expected to be cleared by Wednesday.
According to the Red Cross, about 350 evacuees are still living there.
“It’s over,” said Russ Vandeveerdonk, “It’s over. It’s done. The shelter is done.”
What began with a rush of North Texas hospitality and compassion in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, is now settling down to the very hard, complicated work of rebuilding lives, with few resources. Many of those living in shelters for the past several weeks were struggling before the storm hit.
“What has been handed out is food stamps, you also get $400 from the Red Cross if you apply,” said Vandeveerdonk. “I’ve got a whole pocket here that I’m eligible for, but it could be 4-6 weeks longer. They have to do inspections also, and they have to now inspect Florida and now we’ve got Maria heading to Puerto Rico, so FEMA’s got to handle that one.”
For now, Dallas is reopening its shelter at the Tommie Allen Rec Center for those who have no home waiting — and no hope of normalcy in Houston.
“Houston is devastated right now,” said Hameed Jones. “Gas stations blowing up, mildew everywhere… doesn’t make any sense to go there just to get sick. Dallas has a lot of opportunities so why not start fresh?”
Meanwhile, Vandeveerdonk said he is grateful for the aid — whenever it arrives. He’s looking for job and hoping to start over in a place he once called home.
“I’ll be alright. I have a lot of connections here, a lot of good friends. This is home.”