AUSTIN (KXAN) — The American Red Cross is making final preparations at the Austin Convention Center before transferring around 2,500 evacuees to the new mega shelter.
A Capital Metro spokesperson tells KXAN they are ready to assist with the transfer of evacuees from other Austin shelters to the convention center, but they’re not clear of the exact time frame. Currently, more than 560 evacuees are spread out at shelters across the city at the Delco Center, LBJ High School, the Toney Burger Activity Center and the University of Texas J.J. Pickle Research Campus in north Austin.
Capital Metro has used its ADA accessible buses to help transfer disabled evacuees to and from other parts of Texas in the past week. The transit authority will also grant CapMetro passes to evacuees so they have access to transportation to and from grocery stores, pharmacies and other places they may need to visit.
“These folks are dislocated, disoriented, and most of them probably don’t have cars of their own,” said Jackie Nirenberg, Capital Metro’s Community Involvement Manager. “Many of them don’t have any resources with them, and so we feel like our job is to make them feel as comfortable in their adapted home, their temporary home, as possible, and transportation and mobility is a big part of that comfort level. We want to be able to get them to places where they can purchase the things that they need and the services they need and not have stress about that. They’re going to have plenty of stress about everything else.”
Nirenberg says Capital Metro drivers have been trained to help passengers feel comfortable and will help them with directions if they’re unsure of where they’re going.
The Austin/Travis County Office of Emergency Management says based on current projections from the state, the mega shelter will not start operations Wednesday evening.