Summary of Key State of Texas Actions in Response to Hurricane Katrina
Numbers of Louisiana Hurricane victims being assisted in Texas
State officials today estimated that 100,000 Louisiana residents are staying in hotels and motels across the state. Another 123,000 are being temporarily housed in 97 shelters throughout the state, including the Astrodome, Reliant Center and George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston; Reunion Arena in Dallas; and Kelly USA in San Antonio - the major shelters established to take in those evacuated from New Orleans. The estimates do not include spontaneous shelters established by local churches, so the actual number is likely much higher.
Texas Nearing Capacity
At this time, state officials have notified FEMA and Louisiana officials that Texas is very near capacity in sheltering hurricane victims. Texas continues to reach out to communities across Texas and to urge FEMA to begin diverting some storm victims to other states that have offered to help in the relief efforts.
"Texas is committed to doing everything it can to help our neighbors from Louisiana, but we want to make certain that we can provide them with the medical care, food, shelter, safety, education and other services they need to start getting their lives back together," Gov. Rick Perry said. "Local officials are beginning to notify us that they are quickly approaching capacity in the number of evacuees they believe they can assist."
On Saturday, another 6,000 Louisiana hurricane victims were en route to Texas by bus, and 10,000 were en route by air.
During the last 48 hours, Gov. Perry and his office have been in contact with many states, including Governors Huntsman of Utah, Henry of Oklahoma, Granholm of Michigan, Vilsack of Iowa, and Manchin of West Virginia about providing shelter for Louisiana evacuees. FEMA approval would be necessary for any state to directly take evacuees from Louisiana.
On Sept. 1, the Governor requested an Emergency Declaration, which President Bush has approved, making Texas eligible for a portion of the $10.5 billion in federal aid passed by Congress. Texas and all 254 counties are eligible for 100 percent reimbursement of costs associated with providing aid to Louisiana residents.
Estimates on Shelters:
* 25,000 evacuees will be sheltered in the San Antonio area including Kelly USA.
* 15,000 evacuees will be sheltered in the Metroplex Area including Reunion Arena.
* Corpus Christi, 3,000 evacuees
* Austin, 5,000 evacuees
* Amarillo, 500 evacuees.
* Bell County, 400
* Gov. Perry, through Texas Homeland Security Director Steve McCraw, has assured local officials that the state will provide additional Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to supplement local law enforcement officials to whatever extent they need.
* To date, Perry has called up and deployed 2,200 National Guard troops to support operations in Louisiana and Texas as well as 200 Texas State Guard troops.
* Through FEMA, Texas has requested that the 5th Army at Fort Sam Houston provide assistance for shelter operations in San Antonio.
Emergency / Rescue Personnel:
* More than 1,700 Texas first responders remain on assignment in Louisiana to assist
Efforts to secure more permanent housing:
* Gov. Perry has issued an Executive Order suspending both the state and local hotel/motel taxes for the next 60 days for Louisiana evacuees. In some cities, that could mean as much as a 17 percent reduction in the costs.
* The IRS has approved the waiver request submitted by Gov. Perry that will allow an estimated 18,000 vacant income eligible housing units to be used by Louisianans displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
* State officials also are working with the Texas Apartment Association to identify other vacant apartments that could be used for long-term Louisiana residents could
* Governor Perry has activated the OneStar Foundation to act as a volunteer/donation clearinghouse for anyone in the country wishing to donate cash and non-cash items, food or volunteer. Some 400 hundred phone lines have been established to handle calls. 1-800-707-6768 or www.OneStarFoundation.org.
* Five school districts in the Houston area are preparing for an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 school-aged children that will be arriving at the Astrodome. Texas is currently working through capacity and transportation issues as well as trying to provide additional teachers for those schools that have a large influx of new students.
* The Texas Workforce Commission is going to assist with Unemployment Insurance Claims and with helping folks find work who want to go to work.
* The Higher Education Coordinating Board is assisting students with getting enrolled in Texas colleges and universities. College students displaced by Hurricane Katrina will be eligible for in-state tuition rates at Texas colleges and universities.
* The Health and Human Services Commission is helping identify food stamp eligible individuals and those who need prescription drug support.