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Astrodome Not Turning People Away.

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DATE: 9/2/2005


To: Houston Regional Media Outlets

FROM: Robert Eckels, County Judge

CONTACT NAME: Joint Information Center

News Release

Date: September 2, 2005

Release: Immediate

The Astrodome site is not turning away evacuees. The gates are open. When a bus arrives, medical personnel board the bus and determine the medical needs of the persons on board. They are then unloaded and given food and water.

We currently have approximately 18,000 evacuees on site- 15,000 in the Astrodome and 3,000 in the Reliant Arena. The Reliant Arena is a temporary shelter, a transitional site. Its purpose is to assess the medical needs of the evacuees and provide food and water. They will be sent to another shelter as soon as the location of the shelter has been determined.

Reliant Center is now being used as a shelter. Reliant Center can hold approximately 11,000 people. The George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston will open as a shelter in the immediate future.

Reliant Stadium is not being used as a shelter. The Houston Texans will play football in Reliant Stadium unaffected by the operations in the Astrodome, Reliant Center, and Reliant Arena.

Dallas and San Antonio shelters are open. Dallas can accommodate 12,500 in several shelters set up in the city. San Antonio can accommodate 25,000 evacuees in several shelters set up in the city.

The Houston area does not expect large numbers of evacuees to continue to flood the area. The Unified Command is currently developing plans to process the evacuees and determine their final destination.

Consideration is being made to send some of the overflow to shelters in Dallas, San Antonio, and Huntsville.

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I don't think the man's lying or being a bum over the matter. I worked at a motel for a couple of years while in college. Here are some numbers to play with:

$4o.oo a night x 6o available rooms = $24oo.oo Gross Daily Profit

$24oo.oo x 30 days = $72ooo.oo Gross Monthly Profit

Now, lets look at basic expenses:

1. 6 maids (1 for every 10 rooms) @ $1o.oo an hour = $6o.oo

$6o.oo x 8 hour work day = $48o.oo Daily Maid Expense

$48o.oo x 3o days work = $14,4oo.oo Monthly Maid Expense

2. 1 front desk clerk @ $1o.oo an hour x 8 hour work day = $8o.oo

$8o.oo x 3 (to cover a 3 - 8 hour shifts in a day) = $24o.oo

$24o.oo x 3o = $7,2oo.oo

3. 1 security guard @ $1o.oo an hour x 8 hour work day = $8o.oo

$8o.oo x 3 (to cover a 3 - 8 hour shifts in a day) = $24o.oo

$24o.oo x 3o = $7,2oo.oo

Okay, so far we're up to $28,ooo.oo in just salaries. Of course they could have more personnel like maintence, managers, lifeguards (pool), breakfast area attendants, etc etc. We haven't even began to talk about utilities like gas, electricity, landscaping, water, cable (HBO is free in your room - but ISN'T free to the motel owner), etc etc. Also, you have to consider the insurance policy both on the facility and the employees. Lastly, is the property even paid off? If not, theres a mortage to deal with too.

So lets say the motel lets all those people stay for free - and they only take up one-fourth of his motel occupancy. Assuming the motel can keep 100% occupancy (which they can never 100% ALWAYS do), that still only gives them $54,ooo.oo monthly total Gross Profit. Subtract your employee costs and that leaves you with just $26,ooo.oo to pay all your other bills.

Sure it sounds like a lot, but thats assuming alot of things. He hasn't even started to pay the bills yet. I would bet that this man is telling the truth. Do you think he would want the bad publicity he knows he would get from locking them out?

I'm not taking either side, I just think we need to look at as many facts before we discredit anybody. Making comments about how "underwelmed" we are won't change a business' budget.

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