HOUSTON (AP) — The American Red Cross moved more than 250 people from a Houston convention center to a new emergency shelter in an empty department store almost a month after Hurricane Harvey displaced thousands.

Storm victims began relocating from the NRG Center to the Greenspoint Mall on Friday, The Houston Chronicle reported .

The mall may be able to house storm victims for a longer period of time than other venues, Red Cross officials said.

It’s often a challenge to keep shelters open long enough to allow displaced residents to get back on their feet, said Gregory Smith, the Red Cross site director for the mall shelter.

“The beauty of this facility is that it’s no longer a commercial facility,” Smith said. “We don’t have a timeline for when we have to move.”

Smith said flood victims’ recoveries will determine how long the new emergency center at the mall will remain open.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is working through thousands of aid applications and many displaced residents at the shelter aren’t sure when they will be able to leave.

“A lot of us are still waiting on FEMA,” said Jermaine Anderson, who has been living at the shelter. “It’s been a trying, long process. We don’t know when we’re getting into apartments. It’s been a month since the flood, a lot of people are still displaced and we don’t know anything. Where are we going to go?”

The Red Cross also has relocated hundreds to a Houston Community College warehouse and to the Chinese Community Center.


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