Terror: Homeless Scramble For Help From Hurricane

SCott Olson

In Houston, it began Saturday night. With a sudden crack of thunder and the ripping noise of a storm, Hurricane Harvey began to drop what would become a record-setting amount of rain across every inch of the city. For those out and about that evening, watching the Mayweather-McGregor fight, it meant interruptions to the broadcast and gambles about whether it was safe to make the drive home. For the homeless of the city of Houston, it was the beginning of a fight for survival.

“I have no place to go and it’s going to get bad,” said one homeless resident of Houston that Saturday. His words would be proved right within hours as a pounding downpour from Hurricane Harvey began to drop. Winds picked up to speeds strong enough to rip umbrellas from the hands of downtown revelers, while water began to rise quickly enough that people were sent scrambling into nearby hotels for reprieve.

However, while some were able to find rest from the suddenly rising forces of wind and rain, the homeless of the city lined up alongside buildings, beneath bus stops, and in the shadows of the city’s towers as the waters quickly began to fill up the streets. Those living beneath the city’s freeways were not spared from the hurricane’s sudden onslaught, as many of Houston’s motorways were quickly flooded.

Homeless Houston residents fled the highways
A Houston highway flooded by Hurricane Harvey. [Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]

Traffic ground to a halt, and for those living beneath the arms of these concrete roadways, the surrounding world suddenly became life threatening. Individuals living beneath the city bridges found themselves scrambling for higher ground and abandoning their encampments entirely. The rains that began to flood the city streets did not stop on Sunday, but instead, Hurricane Harvey continued to pour throughout the day.

As the streets and highways became ever more flooded, the homeless of the city found themselves seeking out shelter wherever possible. For many of them, that would be at the George R. Brown Convention Center. There, cots were set up by workers and coffee was made for the shivering masses seeking refuge from the storm.

Houston's homeless live along the highways
Houston highway flood gauge showing water depth from Hurricane Harvey. [Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]

Those rains that struck continued through Monday and Tuesday, while the winds that battered the city brought with them countless fears of tornadoes. However, it was the flooding that struck the deepest fears among homeless residents, as dams overflowed and the city’s local bayous seemed to rise endlessly. The makeshift homes of these Houstonians vanished over the coming days as the waters rose steadily higher. With the first sign of relief from Hurricane Harvey coming on Tuesday night, the homeless of the city were left with even less than when the storms had started. At the very least, they still had their lives.

[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]