Shelter Numbers Decline, Benefit Concert Planned

9-13-05 - The number of Hurricane Katrina refugees in shelters statewide decreased Monday as officials worked to move people into more permanent temporary housing by the weekend.

"I think some of them are still trying to figure out what they want to do," said Coast Guard Lt. Joe Leonard, who is heading up the Houston response. "Some are still trying to locate family members."

On Monday, 4,680 refugees were staying in four shelters in the Houston area. Another 1,100 were in the Dallas Convention Center and Reunion Arena and 4,400 were in four shelters in San Antonio.

"We can't do anything until we find somewhere to go," said Cephus Washington Sr., a 68-year-old who was staying in Houston's Astrodome with a number of relatives, including his fiance and her 3-year-old grandson. "They can't just throw us out of here. That's for sure. ... We didn't ask to come here."

Houston Mayor Bill White said the city may close the George R. Brown Convention Center shelter by Saturday. But there is no sense of urgency in trying to move out evacuees, he said in a story for Tuesday's editions of the Houston Chronicle.