In the days following Hurricane Harvey, Central Texas communities are coming together to help those who were affected by the storm. Here are five ways Travis County is contributing to disaster relief efforts:

  1. The county is responding to the state's call for help and is preparing the Travis County Exposition Center in Northeast Austin to be used as a possible shelter to take in Hurricane Harvey evacuees in case it is needed. Commissioners discussed the need to provide more than just shelter, but also food, clothes, and other necessary supplies.

"These people are willing to be bussed several hundred miles away from home," Eckhardt said. "We are going to prioritize those folks in need of wrap-around services first."

2. To ensure evacuees have access to the services they need, Travis County will work with regional partners. So far, the county has partnered with the city of Austin and Austin ISD to provide shelter for victims at the Toney Burger Activity Center and Stadium, LBJ High School and the Delco Center.

"We have already been challenged with the 579 evacuees we currently have and there is a considerable number more coming, Eckhardt said. "We are working closely and will continue to work with our partners around Central Texas."

3. The county earmarked $200,000 to fund hurricane relief efforts it expects to encounter over the next few weeks while taking in evacuees. The county will track its expenses so that the county budget can be properly reimbursed via Federal Emergency Mangement Agency [FEMA] funds. An updated total will be presented at the Sept. 12 commissioners court meeting.

4. Commissioners and county staff are asking the public to donate to the Austin Disaster Relief Network Fund, which has been set up through the Austin Community Foundation to respond to the immediate and long-term needs of families impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

5. Donations to the Central Texas American Red Cross are also encouraged by the county. Citizens can text Red Cross to 90999 to donate to the relief efforts or sign up to volunteer through the American Red Cross website.