Harvey evacuees find a new 'hometown' in Cowtown

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FORT WORTH- As a bus load of Hurricane Harvey evacuees rolled out of Fort Worth on Monday bound for a return to the Texas coast, more than a dozen other families at the city's temporary shelter simply watched.

They have decided to make Cowtown their hometown by relocating permanently.

"It's a very good feeling. At first we didn't have nothing, and now we everything," said Lanissia James.

James and her six children evacuated from Port Arthur three weeks ago when flood waters started to rapidly rise around their home.

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James says they left with little, but now have clothes, toiletries, children's games, and just about anything they'll need to start fresh.

"The donations are great," she said outside of the Wilkerson-Grines Activity Center, where the city established its shelter. "And hopefully, I get my voucher later this week."

The families that are staying will spend at least a few nights at area motels thanks to help from Catholic Charities.

When FEMA vouchers finally arrive, they'll be able to find apartments or homes.

"We became a little community here. It was people from all walks of life," says April Harrison, who spent three weeks at the shelter.

She also has elected to relocate to Fort Worth. Her son is already enrolled in Fort Worth ISD, and she's close to getting a job, too.

"Everyone was so nice, it really wasn't a hard decision," she said. "The Red Cross did a great job running everything here."

The city officially closed its shelter on Monday. 

Of the 50 that returned to Port Arthur, roughly half are expected to eventually come back to Fort Worth to live once they survey the damage.

Birdie Jones told WFAA she is staying put now, largely because she's afraid of how mach damage there is to her family property near the coast.

"Before I knew it, we had no streets," she said, alluding to the flooding.

According to the city, Red Cross volunteers logged some 9,000 hours at the shelter over the past few weeks, while at its height shelter operations countywide helped as many as 247 people in one day.