As Harvey evacuees begin making their treks home or finding new places to live, Austin’s mega-shelter is winding down its operations and will close by the end of the weekend, officials estimate.
County executive Josh Davies said during Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday that the number of evacuees is dwindling. Right now, 163 evacuees are still in the shelter at the MetCenter, located in a Southeast Austin industrial park at 7000 Metropolis Drive, down from about 400 evacuees at its opening.
Davies said officials’ primary focus now is helping evacuees either return home or find housing, whether it’s a shelter closer to their home or making a new home in Austin.
Officials opened the mega-shelter Sept. 1, consolidating the evacuees who had been scattered across several Austin schools facilities. Within days, two buses took some of those evacuees back to Corpus Christi and five more buses went to Refugio.
The shelter’s multi-agency resource center, which provided services such as access to vital records, workforce solutions, housing and family services, closed Tuesday. City and county officials will continue to provide support from their regular offices.
Austin officials negotiated leases for two spaces at the industrial park for shelter operations. A subsidiary of Uber, which controls the lease for one of those spaces, has offered to waive the $53,000-a-month rent for up to three months.
FEMA hiring in Texas for Harvey recovery
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said this week it is hiring temporary workers in Texas for jobs related to hurricane recovery. Some of the jobs posted recently pay between $14 and $34 an hour, according to a FEMA statement.
Jobs include: administrative support assistant, civil engineer, communications specialist, construction cost estimator, courier, crisis counselor, customer service specialist, environmental specialist, floodplain management specialist, graphics specialist, hazard mitigation outreach specialist, historic preservation specialist, registered nurse and voluntary agency liaison.
Application instructions are posted at WorkInTexas.com, the Texas Workforce Commission’s website.