Tent shelters for 250 being set up in Orange County, could be expanded based on need

The shelter will be set up at the boat ramp parking lot off Simmons Drive in east Orange and is expected to be ready for evacuees arriving Monday afternoon from Dallas, Austin and Nacogdoches according to Orange County Judge Brint Carlton

ORANGE - Officials in Orange County are working with the state to set up a shelter for evacuees returning to the county from around the state next week.

The shelter will be set up at the boat ramp parking lot off Simmons Drive in east Orange and is expected to be ready for evacuees arriving Monday afternoon from Dallas, Austin and Nacogdoches according to Orange County Judge Brint Carlton

Carlton told 12News he believes equipment will start arriving on the site today and the shelter should take 72 hours to build.

The tent shelter will hold 250 people with the ability to be expanded to handle 500 if there is a need Carlton said.

Frank Smith, a 77-year-old veteran, has been searching for shelter ever since his home in Deweyville was flooded during Harvey. He said he is relieved there will be a shelter in place for displaced residents. 
 
"I've been everywhere, everything is full all the people in texas went to Louisiana to get out of the mess but everything is full," said Smith.
 
The shelter, which will include bathrooms, showers and laundry facilities, will be focused primarily on evacuees but officials will assess how many other county residents may need shelter Carlton said.
 
"I don't like depending on nobody, sometimes you have to but i don't want to be a burden on nobody," said Smith. 

Contractors working with FEMA's “Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power," or STEP program, will also be available at the shelter to help families make their homes livable.

Judge Carlton said they are also discussing the option of requesting trailers for residents who are cleaning up their homes.

The Orange City Council is allowing residents to have trailers and RV's at their home for temporary housing for a period of 12 months. 

"It helps to be able to stay out at your home where you can work on it continuously instead of working back and forth," said resident Joe Green. 

The City Council is asking residents to apply for a voluntary permit if they have an RV or trailer at their home. Residents can contact the Code Enforcement Department at 409-883-1070.

Judge Carlton said debris contractors have been working on picking up debris along the side of the road for the past 8 days. 

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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