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Deer Park evacuation shelter closes

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in News

shelterIN NEWS
Approximately 48 hours after it opened, the Red Cross shelter established at the Jimmy Burke Activity Center closed Thursday afternoon. City officials estimate over 200 evacuees from Hurricane Harvey were sheltered in Deer Park by the city and Red Cross.

METRO pickupA METRO bus bound for the NRG Center waits as approximately 30 evacuees prepare to load their belongings for their next stop. The evacuees from Hurricane Harvey were sheltered for two days at the Jimmy Burke Activity Center by the American Red Cross, the city of Deer Park and community volunteers. Photo by Bobby Vasquez.A Red Cross shelter established in Deer Park was closed Thursday afternoon. As more roads became passable, shelters in outlying areas and suburbs of Houston are being closed. Evacuees that were at the Jimmy Burke Activity Center boarded a METRO bus to be transported to the NRG Center.

“That’s a much better facility that is better equipped to serve the evacuees,” said City Manager Jay Stokes. “At NRG, they will have access to showers, a makeshift grocery store, a pharmacy and other resources that we do not have here.”

The city was prepared to accommodate up to 300 people displaced by the floods of Hurricane Harvey from across the Greater Houston area. Just more than 225 persons were sheltered at the Jimmy Burke Activity Center when it was opened on Tuesday.

At the time of the closure announcement, about 30 evacuees remained at the Jimmy Burke Activity Center.

“The roads are starting to clear up, so a lot of our evacuees were able to be reunited with family and friends who came to pick them up,” Stoke said. “We even had one gentleman who was tired of waiting, so he called a cab.”

Stokes said he and city leaders have been appreciative of Deer Park citizens, churches and civic organizations selflessly bringing donations of clothes, food, linens and personal items to shelters and collection centers after Hurricane Harvey passed over the area.

“Starting with the community, the response has been incredible. We’ve had to turn donations away because of the outpouring of and love generosity from our citizens,” said Stokes. “We had several churches took a leadership role in helping the community organize to help evacuees not just here, but in other places too.

The shelter was staffed by community and Red Cross volunteers as well as city employees, he said.

“Our employees deeply care about this community and they wanted to help not just their city, but the evacuees get their lives back to normal,” Stokes said.

“We have such a great community here. We had a little boy celebrate his birthday here, the football team came by, we had families come in and work for days. This was a wonderful experience for our community. People wanted to help. The persons who were sent here came from difficult situations and so many of them have thanked our volunteers and staff for their help making their life just a little bit more comfortable,” he said.