No Room At The Inn For Returning Galvestonians

Time is running out for Ike refugees who have been getting their hotel bills paid by FEMA. Soon they'll have to leave Austin, or Dallas, or wherever and head back to Galveston.

Where, they will find, there are no hotel rooms.

Complaints have been reaching city council that the hotels that are open on the island are filled with contractors. Residents whose homes are uninhabitable are out of luck.

Roschelle Gaskins of the Galveston convention bureau tells Hair Balls that the island hotels are indeed full, but not all the rooms are going to workers.

"Some of the hotels have kept space for residents," she says. "It depends on the hotel and what they're considering as their business."

Which means, we guess, whether the hotels see part of their business as being good neighbors helping out fellow Galvestonians, or just taking whoever's money is greenest.

"At the beginning, a lot of the hotels were 100 percent contractors, but now some are 50-50," Gaskins says.

This weekend the island hosted 1,200 visitors for a convention at Moody Gardens. Those rooms were booked in advance, she says, so any contractors (or residents!) who had been staying there had to find temporary (temporary) digs.

-- Richard Connelly

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