Hurricane Laura evacuees turned away as Austin intake facility runs out of room

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COTA’s intake facility is now being used as a rest area for evacuees.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, COTA reopened its intake facility as a rest area for evacuees. Those seeking shelter are welcomed to wait at COTA until more hotel rooms become available on a first-come-first-served basis.

The COTA intake facility said it ran out of hotel rooms early Wednesday morning one day after city leaders announced on Tuesday that Austin would be one of the places that had a shelter for Hurricane Laura evacuees. The intake facility opened at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and was prepared to take in up to 3,000 people.


COTA officials said the facility had to start turning people away around midnight because they ran out of hotel vouchers. They were able to reopen again and had been open for some of Wednesday morning. However, gates began closing again around 5 a.m. as the shelter ran out of space.

An official told KVUE they are encouraging evacuees to call 211 for the most up-to-date sheltering information. They are working to find more rooms in the Austin area.

KVUE asked what the next step is for people looking for shelter, and officials said there are other areas evacuees can go to such as Mesquite, San Antonio and Dallas. They also suggested evacuees find their own motel or hotel.

Hurricane Laura is expected to make landfall Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. The major hurricane is expected to strengthen to a Category 4 hurricane by Wednesday. Download the KVUE app to get the latest updates straight to your phone.