After initially refusing to open the doors of his Houston megachurch to those displaced by Hurricane Harvey, televangelist Joel Osteen has announced that Lakewood Church, with a capacity of over 16,000, is open and “receiving anyone who needs shelter.”
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
Last night, as public pressure mounted to open the church, Osteen solicited donations for relief.
The church initially cited “severe flooding” that made it inaccessible. Photos circulating on social media, however, appeared to show that the church itself was not in danger (though the church provided ABC News with pictures they said proved otherwise).
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️⚧️🇺🇦 (@cmclymer) August 28, 2017
Before opening to the public, Lakewood Church spokesperson Donald Iloff told the New York Post that people seeking shelter should head to the Brown Convention Center, which is now 20% over capacity, according to The Hill.