Victims from Harvey from around the Coastal Bend took shelter in Corpus Christi at the Ben Garza Recreation Center, a city-owned facility. However, it’s the local Red Cross chapter that’s been aiding those staying there.
As we’ve reported , conditions at those shelters have been called less than up to par. On Wednesday, we checked on the situation and found shelter residents finally getting bussed to a place with showers. Meanwhile, the Red Cross continues to remain onsite to assist.
The shelter issue highlights an important question, however, regarding the often misunderstood role that the City of Corpus Christi plays when it comes to handling evacuees. The KRIS 6 News Fact Check team looked into things, so let’s clear up the details.
Fact or Fiction: Is Corpus Christi a shelter city?
The Verdict: Fiction. Corpus Christi is not a shelter city, it’s an evacuation hub.
Corpus Christi Fire Department Chief Robert Rocha explained, "We don’t want to get into a situation where we’re housing a lot of people long term and then a storm comes…we’ll have to evacuate them…again."
As Rocha said, Corpus Christi is a coastal city. In fact, it lies along the Gulf of Mexico, where hurricanes are a yearly concern; and that’s not the sort of place you want to house people during hurricane season.
For temporary use only
The Ben Garza Gym has served an important purpose, as did the city’s FEMA domes for relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, but its not intended to be a long-term fix. No city resources in Corpus Christi are.
"It is a temporary shelter where they have a safe, warm, dry place to stay. We are providing feeding. We are providing disaster mental health care. We are providing disaster services," said Vicki LaBelle with the American Red Cross.
While the city’s shelter (again, run by the Red Cross, not the city itself) can serve as a temporary reprieve from the storm, for a long-term solution to those displaced by storms like Harvey, victims will need to look elsewhere.
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