Tent city in Galveston to close in 2 weeks

October 10, 2008 10:38:50 AM PDT
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The Red Cross has set up a shelter at Alamo Elementary School in Galveston for those trying to get back on their feet, but it will close in a couple of weeks.

Galveston city officials are working with the island's apartment association to try to find other places for the homeless here to live. People in the tents say they're grateful for that, but they are ready to move on and out of the shelter.

Every night, Roy Inouya says he sits outside his front porch and does not like what he sees.

"Every night, the police are called over there. One man was shot over there right in the corner lot," he said.

He lives across the street from the Red Cross shelter, a tent the city is using to house hundreds of Galveston's homeless. An estimated 400 people were there Friday, but nearly double that amount use the shelter during the day for basic necessities.

"Of course, there is a lack of privacy, but you have to take what they give you and try to live with it," said shelter resident Donald Robinson. "But I am ready to get on with my life and probably get my own place again."

"OK, the showers are good but the restrooms are horrible," said shelter resident Christine Stevens. "I don't think I've seen one time that they come up here and cleaned it . So yeah, it's pretty bad."

City officials will close the shelter October 26 when federal funding ends. Where people will go next is being decided now. FEMA trailers and local apartments will likely be used to house the city's homeless.

Clean up continues in the city's Strand. Many businesses remain closed and traffic lights are not operating. Debris remains stacked along the streets. As a result, the Lone Star Rally will be delayed until December. A curfew does exist from midnight to 5am within a five-block area from 20th to 25th Street.

Curfew for the rest of the city has been lifted, so around the shelter there is a lot of foot traffic.

One 20-year neighbor who also lost everything says she remains patient.

"I don't have a problem with them over there at this time. They need a place to stay," she said. "These people were displaced. They are homeless and they need somewhere to stay. So where are you going to put them?"

Meanwhile, the shelter residents are trying to stay patient as well.

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