Residents left without a home find refuge inside FEMA dome

CORPUS CHRISTI -

One of the Corpus Christi’s three federally-funded storm shelters is being used to house those who no longer have a place to live after Hurricane Harvey battered the coast.

Those storm shelters paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are known as FEMA domes.

As of today, the dome at Tuloso-Midway ISD on the northwest side of the city housed about 60 people, according to people staying there

It’s being used as a refuge, not a shelter, said Kim Womack, spokeswoman for the City of Corpus Christi. That’s because Corpus Christi is not designated as an emergency shelter location since it’s a coastal city. A refuge shelter is a temporary situation, and those staying there are expected to be moved somewhere else, Womack said.

Inside the shelter there is food, water and hygiene items, cots and any basic necessities a person would need to live for the next several days, said Virginia Gonzalez, who is staying there along with her family and pets.

“They're very nice, they're very generous, very kind,” she said.

 For now, it’s the only location in Corpus Christi.  

"That's where the city is directing these people that have had their houses inhabitable,” said Corpus Christi Councilman Greg Smith.

Gonzales and her family have been on campus since yesterday. She evacuated her mobile home in Rockport and rode out the storm in Beeville. The family returned to Rockport to see what was left and found their home overturned. Her mother's house is decimated, she said.

Despite the circumstances, Gonzalez said her family does plan to rebuild. Shelter officials have told her to expect to stay as long as 10 days at the Tuloso-Midway campus before being relocated somewhere else. Only those whose homes have been destroyed are being sent to the Corpus Christi location.

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