HOUSTON (CBSMiami/AP) — Church leader Joel Osteen’s megachurch is now open to people seeking shelter in Houston as Harvey continues to deluge the city with rain.
Osteen had faced criticism for not using the massive Lakewood Church as a storm shelter. In a statement to ABC News Monday Osteen said the church “never” closed its doors and was serving as a relief supply distribution center. He said it would “house people once shelters reach capacity.”
The church announced on Twitter it was receiving people who need shelter late Tuesday morning.
Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood’s doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter.
— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) August 29, 2017
The 16,000-seat former arena was the longtime home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets.
Osteen’s comment stands in contrast to a church Facebook post and a since-deleted Instagram remark by Lakewood associate pastor John Gray, who said flooded highways had made the church inaccessible.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)