Officials: Austin’s mega-shelter for Harvey evacuees to close soon


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.



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