Hurricane Laura evacuees seeking shelter in North Texas given short notice to relocate

Thousands of Hurricane Laura evacuees in North Texas are being told they have to relocate to new hotels.

The state decided to consolidate the number of shelter hotels people can stay at, and that's leading to a last-minute scramble and some confusion.

The Hyatt Regency in Downtown Dallas along with the Anatole and Crown Plaza are the three hotels that will now house between 4,000 and 5,000 evacuees.

The process hasn’t been smooth for some. The city of Dallas, which is assisting the state operation, says some people will be rechecking all through the night into Thursday.

The lobby at the Hampton Inn Legacy Park-Frisco was a place for those who once again find themselves in limbo.

Marvin Moore and his wife are evacuees from Lake Charles, Louisiana. They were among the more than 70 guests who got word that they would have to move again. They say they were given a number to call, but it hasn’t been easy.

“I called 24 times. Got disconnected. Busy signals,” he said. “I finally got through on a third number they gave us.”

The Hampton Inn was one of roughly 40 across the state that had been housing mostly Louisiana residents displaced when Hurricane Laura roared ashore late last month. The hotel got word Tuesday that the state's contract is expiring. Evacuees received a phone number to call about relocating.

“We found out yesterday afternoon,” said Hampton Inn General Manager Mark Gammill. “These guests have been kind of jumping through hoops here with just hours notice to find alternate arrangements.”

Texas emergency management officials tell FOX 4 it cut hotels down from 40 across the state to eight in part to make it easier to give evacuees meals and medical care.

“Dallas has been called on once again to help, and we are stepping up,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.

Dallas is hosting three hotels, including the Hyatt Regency in downtown. But officials admitted the short time span to move people isn’t ideal.

“Personally, I would have liked it to have been spread around two or three days so we don’t have this rush of 4,000 people that have to travel wherever they are in the hotels and come again stand in line,” said Rocky Vaz, Dallas Emergency Management Director.

For mother Tracy Leonards who lost her home in Lake Charles, the hassle of trying to re-check in seemed too much. She opted to pay to stay at the Hampton Inn in Frisco another night.

“We’re actually self-paying tonight because I can’t go stand in a line with thousands of other people to try to get a free room,” she said. “Thankfully, the people here are very nice and understood that so we’re just paying the night until we can find somewhere else to go. “I’d rather it be difficult and have somewhere to stay than it be easy and be homeless.”

Although people FOX 4 spoke with say they got word about the move Tuesday, the Texas Division of Emergency Management claims evacuees were notified Monday.

Regardless, it's just a couple days time to move a lot of people, and state officials didn't give an answer as to why this didn't take place over a longer period.