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Dallas Prepares 'Mega Shelter' For Up To 5,000 Evacuees; Fort Worth, Irving Open Shelters

Dallas, Fort Worth and Irving officials made preparations Monday to house evacuees from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.   

'Mega shelter' in downtown Dallas

Dallas is expected to open a "mega shelter" by Tuesday morning at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center that could accommodate as many as 5,000 evacuees. 

Evacuees will stay in the air-conditioned ground level of the convention center's parking garage. Events or shows currently booked will not be affected. Pharmacy and medical services will be set up for evacuees, Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a news conference Monday morning. 

The city of Irving planned to temporarily house about 200 evacuees at Lively Pointe Youth Center Monday before transferring them to Dallas when the convention center shelter was ready. 

Tens of thousands of people could eventually come to North Texas from the coast, Rawlings said. He said he's been looking at other possible shelter sites and talking to mayors of other Texas cities.

Dallas currently has three smaller shelters in operation, where more than 500 evacuees spent the night Sunday. 

  • Tommie Allen Recreation Center, 7071 Bonnie View Road.
  • Samuell Grand Recreation Center, 6200 E. Grand Ave. 
  • Walnut Hill Recreation Center, 10011 Midway Road.

Displaced residents can check into the Tommie Allen or Samuell Grand shelters. Walnut Hill has reached capacity. There were about 200 beds still available Monday morning among the Dallas shelters currently in operation.

Credit Stella M. Chavez / KERA News
A volunteer helps set up beds at the Dallas convention center on Monday, Aug. 28.

Rawlings said Dallas would receive 50 to 80 people from Galveston flying into Dallas Love Field Airport Monday afternoon. And he said 250 buses are ready to move people out of Houston once roads are safe to travel.

Shelters for animals

Pets rescued from the storm will also have a place to stay in Dallas. The city's animal services and SPCA are getting the fourth floor of the old Reunion Arena parking garage ready.

Cedar Hill sent its trailer carrying pet supplies to the convention center. According to a press release, the trailer holds enough supplies to support 65 pets, including microchips, bowls, collars, leashes and more.

Students enrolling in Dallas ISD

The Dallas school district expects to enroll students who evacuated.

Students staying in the convention center, who want to attend school while they're in Dallas, will be transported to J.F. Kennedy Elementary School, A.W. Spence Middle School and North Dallas High School, according to the district.

Read more about the accommodations being made by Dallas ISD.

Fort Worth's storm response

Fort Worth on Monday opened emergency shelters at the request of the state. Evacuees are expected to arrive by bus Tuesday and will be routed through the Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center, which served victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Ike in 2008, to other local shelters.  

A trailer with services and supplies for pets staying at the Wilkerson-Greines shelter was set up on site Tuesday. 

The city has five shelters in total that could hold more than 1,000 evacuees if state officials make a request for more space, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Fort Worth officials will manage the shelters with food and other items provided by the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. 

The city has already deployed resources for storm relief, including 30 members of the Fort Worth Fire Department, rescue equipment and vehicles, a MedStar ambulance bus and other special response crews. 

The school district is also prepared to take in students who have evacuated, if needed. 

Medical City takes in patients

Medical City Healthcare hospitals were preparing Tuesday to receive patients evacuated from hospitals severely impacted by Harvey.

Intiially, 11 ICU patients will be transferred to North Texas from HCA Gulf Coast hospitals. More patients are anticipated. Family members looking for relatives can call 844-674-7431.

Updates will be posted on the Medical City Healthcare Facebook page.

Resources for evacuees

Donations for evacuees should not be taken to these shelters, but to Trusted World, located at 15660 N. Dallas Parkway. To help Trusted World, sign up here, and for more information on local Harvey relief efforts, visit this page.

Anyone traveling to Dallas-Fort Worth from South Texas needing information on shelters can call 2-1-1 or visit

Stella M. Chávez is KERA’s immigration/demographics reporter/blogger. Her journalism roots run deep: She spent a decade and a half in newspapers – including seven years at The Dallas Morning News, where she covered education and won the Livingston Award for National Reporting, which is given annually to the best journalists across the country under age 35.