PORT ARTHUR - Harvey evacuees that took shelter at Thomas Jefferson middle school have been moved to temporary tents at the Bob Bowers Civic center.
There are 250 soft-shelled tents in the parking lot but emergency management officials want to emphasize the area is not open to the public at this time.
Patrick Peshoff, has stayed at the Red Cross shelter at TJ Middle School for weeks and said he doesn’t mind moving to a new location.
"It’s better than nothing, better than staying in a gym," said Peshoff.
He is trying to stay positive even though his home in Nederland was destroyed during Harvey.
“We’ve been through a lot right now but we'll build it back up," said Peshoff.
The tents are provided by the company BCFS and will hold 12 to 14 people inside.
The BCFS incident commander explained men and women will be separated in different tents. Families will be grouped together in separate tents as well.
"It’s a lot of people, as long as people aren't stealing or anything like that"
City officials expect to have another tent set up to hold 250 people at the center by tomorrow night. There will be barriers that will separate men and women inside.
Mayor Derrick Freeman said he expects evacuees from Garland and Dallas to come back to Port Arthur to live inside these temporary shelters tomorrow.
"We are finally finding a balance after a couple weeks and we are happy people will be safe and comfortable here," said Freeman.
His next focus will be on where to place the other 750 residents who are either displaced or evicted from their apartments.
Freeman believes about 250 were evicted from their apartments due to mold growth or major water damage.
In the future, the county will set up a phone line so evicted apartment renters can call and reserve a spot at another temporary shelter.
Freeman said FEMA will be aiding homeowners with the disaster recovery centers and their STEP Program. He said homeowners will also have the chance to apply for FEMA trailers.
The tents are available as a temporary shelter for about 30 days but could get extended. The mayor emphasizes county officials and FEMA representatives are working to find a solution.
At the Bob Bowers Civic Center three hot meals will be offered to residents each day. Residents will also have the opportunity to eat snacks like fruit and granola bars during the day.
At the temporary shelter people will be able to shower and use the bathrooms in trailers at the civic center.
There will be medical staff and police at the temporary shelter.
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