Shelter at George R. Brown Convention Center closes after Red Cross helps over 10,000 Harvey survivors

HOUSTON — The George R. Brown Convention Center closed its doors Monday to residents displaced by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey after nearly 900 people were safely rehoused, the Houston Housing and Community Development Department said.

The Red Cross’ operations at the convention center concluded, initiating a longer-range plan to provide permanent homes for the shelter residents. At its peak, the convention center was home to more than 10,000 displaced Harvey survivors.

The moves to longer-term housing began last week for GRB residents unable to qualify for apartment leases. These residents are being relocated to a recently refurbished dormitory-style facility called The Residences on Emancipation, which has the capacity for nearly 300 residents. Approximately 100 are now at the facility, and another 100 are approved to live there and will move in the next day or two. The Residences on Emancipation is operated by Harvey Response Management Inc., an affiliate of New Hope Housing.

The remaining GRB Red Cross shelter residents have been moved to two new disaster shelters, one at a Houston Community College facility on Fannin which is now housing 550 residents, and another housing 150 at the Chinese Community Center on Town Park Drive in Houston.

To further assist these flood survivors, the City of Houston is working with Red Cross, FEMA, the Houston Apartment Association, the Houston Housing Authority and the Coalition for the Homeless to implement a strategy which is identifying and holding apartment units, then working with the residents and apartment management to help the residents obtain leases for those units.

This housing option is ideal for the 46 percent of the GRB population who had leases or mortgages prior to the storm or the 20 percent of those who prior to the storm were living in apartments, even if they were not on a lease. Everyone who can qualify to sign a lease with a participating landlord will be provided this option. Participating landlords will be doing their own independent screening.

This rehousing program is backed by FEMA, which has allocated $9.8 million in funding for both the apartment housing option and a dormitory-style housing option.