As flood waters in Houston continued to rise in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, so did the criticism of Lakewood Church not opening as a shelter. Many on social media responded to the church's announcement that they would not be meeting Sunday and Osteen's tweet offering prayers for those in the path of the storm with disbelief that the church would not be open to take in those seeking refuge.
Lakewood spokesperson Donald Iloff, who is also Osteen's father-in-law, said Monday that the church had never closed their doors and would continue to serve as a distribution center to help those in need.
Iloff further elaborated: "We are prepared to shelter people once the cities and county shelters reach capacity. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives."
The church is slated to start sheltering people Tuesday. Their building, the former home of the Houston Rockets, will be able to house several hundred people on their second floor. The area around the church flooded Monday and the church posted pictures of flooding inside their building. Iloff said those waters have already started receding.
Lakewood Church averages 50,000 in attendance at their central campus, which offers seating for 16,800.
Hurricane Harvey, the flooding from which officials have described as "epic" and "catastrophic," has claimed 14 lives.
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Publication date: August 29, 2017