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32,000 Texans Are Now Being Housed In Shelters, Abbott Says

Trey Shaar
Gov. Greg Abbott delivers an update on Harvey relief efforts at the State Operations Center in Austin on Wednesday.

As flooding from Tropical Storm Harvey continues in Southeast Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said the number of counties on the federal government’s disaster declaration has been expanded to 33. That expansion includes counties outside of Harvey's path that are helping evacuees in shelters – including Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar and Travis.

So far, 32,000 Texans have been housed in emergency shelters, the governor said. The number of state National Guard troops deployed to help in South and Southeast Texas has swelled to 14,000; it’s possible an additional 10,000 out-of-state troops could be deployed, as well.

Those service members will be operating primarily in the Harris County area, where high-water rescues are still ongoing, and the area surrounding Beaumont and Port Arthur, which saw its emergency shelter toppled by floodwaters last night as Harvey made its way through East Texas.

Abbott urged Texans affected by the storm to register for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which already has 210,000 registrations and has doled out $37 million in relief money. Those affected by Harvey can register at

Abbott said the focus should be to get people out of emergency shelters and that FEMA's assistance has allowed evacuees to settle into 2,000 transitional housing units.

“These shelters and evacuation centers are intended to be short-term facilities,” he said. “We want to quickly move people from evacuation centers, like a convention center, into a location where there are living rooms and bedrooms and bathrooms that people can use as a family unit.”

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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