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HOUSTON (AP) — With more guests than cots, some people slept on chairs or the floor. People hung towels and wet clothes on the base of the ceiling supports. Police officers guarded several entrances. Outside, dozens of people still awake stood with their pets and traded cigarettes.

People who escaped rising floodwaters and pouring rain spawned by Harvey arrived at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Monday night by the busload and truckload even as the convention center exceeded its capacity of 5,000. The second night inside the center was louder, more crowded and at times, more chaotic.

At one point, officers tended to two men lying unresponsive in front of an exit, pushing away onlookers. The men had taken drugs and would both recover within an hour.

Frustration grew in some places, more than three days after the storm ravaged the Texas coastline as a Category 4 hurricane before transforming into a tropical storm that currently sits parked over the Gulf of Mexico ahead of an expected return to shore. One person said she had only gotten one meal Monday while watching others take several helpings of food.

Another person, Kevin Perkins, described sleeping on the floor and feeling accosted by police officers inside.

“It’s hell,” Perkins said. He shook his head and walked away as Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, during a visit to the convention center Monday, approached near where he was standing.

“All my stuff damaged. I have no clothes, no shoes, no nothing,” he said.

The din inside eventually fell as thousands of people went to bed. Around 7,000 people had arrived before midnight, with more people still coming.

Harvey will drop more rain Tuesday on a city crippled by floodwaters that have swamped streets and neighborhoods. The demands on the convention center were expected to grow, even while a new shelter opened Monday night and city officials considered opening more.

New volunteers arrived through the night. David Brady, CEO of the Red Cross’ Texas Gulf Coast chapter, said that the volunteers were critical to making sure evacuees “feel comfortable here and that they’re willing and wanting to pull those cots together.”

“If we get our staff to be friendly and open and welcoming, hopefully, that will create a culture with the folks who are staying in the shelter to do the same thing,” Brady said.

For Howard Thomas, the shelter was a place of last resort.

Thomas described himself as living on the streets. He had spent the three previous nights at a $55-a-night motel. But he ran out of money Monday morning.

He was picked up from the motel and taken to the convention center, where he waited to check in carrying just a blue tote bag with his belongings.

“I’m hoping I can get a place of my own, even if it’s just a one-room shack, just as long as I’m out of the elements, off the street,” he said.

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

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4 thoughts on “Inside Houston Shelter, A Loud And Sometimes Chaotic Night

  1. specialt757 on said:

    Hey I feel really terrible for these people and I would never want to trade places or be in this situation. I know places like the convention centers are not the ideal place, I’m sure everyone would love to be in their own homes, but what are the other options for the masses? I hope this is over for them soon, it must be hell for ALL involved, no one is going to be happy with the entire unavoidable and unfavorable situation.

  2. Dr. Larry on said:

    Biblical flooding, supplies dwindling, children hungry and wearing the only clothes they have, but black women still have the presence and determination to wear their blonde weave. That is a testament to the strength and resolve of Texans. Way to go Baby Mama, way to go

  3. ((The mothernature has always triple lessons for whatever supremacist minds through the distance or around ! – Versaint)) …………..  “Earthquakes Or natural disasters are not only mechanical phenomena, they are also meant to awaken the intellect and hearts of humans so that they free themselves from their mistakes and madness and understand that they are not alone in the universe. “: The last prophecy of Peter Deunov

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