Hotel tax relief for Hurricane Harvey evacuees
- Aug 29, 2017 | Gail Cole
Last updated 10.13.2017: Hotel tax relief has been extended for a second time. It is now set to last until Oct. 23, 2017.
More than 30,000 people in Texas are in need of temporary shelter thanks to Hurricane Harvey. Approximately 8,000 have been taken to shelters around Houston, with 5,000 expected in the Houston Convention Center alone. Dallas is also opening a mega-shelter at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
For people forced out of their homes by rising water, it won’t take long for expenses to add up. To help ease the cost of temporary housing, Governor Greg Abbott is suspending state and local hotel and motel occupancy tax for victims of the storm. Relief-effort personnel and first responders are also eligible for the tax break, which lasts through Sept. 6, 2017.
Additional assistance is being offered by Airbnb. The share-economy giant is waiving all service fees for people affected by Hurricane Harvey who check in between Aug. 23 and Sept. 25, 2017. It has also created a webpage to facilitate urgent accommodations — it helps those in need of a place to stay connect with those able to provide free lodging.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) anticipates more than 450,000 people will eventually seek some sort of disaster assistance because of Harvey, and the storm isn’t over yet. In fact, it is widening: On Monday, President Trump approved Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards’ Emergency Declaration Request.