I'm sure you all know that I work for the Marine Science Institute (MSI) in Port Aransas, Texas. But I am stationed in Austin at the main UT campus. I'm sure you also know that cat 4 Hurricane Harvey hit MSI directly and there was extensive damage.
On Friday afternoon when I realized this might be a whole lot more serious than a little tropical storm, I asked on facebook if anyone had a spare room to loan out to poor graduate student hurricane evacuees from MSI. I've gotten 18 offers of rooms and I've been able to pretty quickly accommodate everyone who has responded to my email asking if anyone needed a place to stay. Even those with cats or a chinchilla, those without a car, etc.
A few of the comments from friends (either to me or to the evacuee staying with them):
"don't take a cab to my house! I'd be happy to [drive from North Austin in horrible rush hour traffic] pick you up at the airport"
"of course we'll babysit your chinchilla while you go down to Port A to survey the damages to your home"
"a friend from Houston just claimed our spare bedroom, but we'll go over and clean up the house we're in the process of moving out of and let people stay there"
"I can take allergy meds, so I'm happy to welcome them and their cats, it's no big deal"
"we already set our Airbnb to $0 for evacuees, but if one of your people needs it, just let me know"
[Their kids just started school, they have an older dog, and her father just passed away, but] "we're happy to offer our spare room"
And quite a few "are you still looking for rooms for hurricane evacuees from the Marine Science Institute?", "I don't have a spare room, but I can loan out air mattresses".
Reading the reports of damage from our director at MSI has made my heart sink, but seeing the generosity of my friends makes my heart soar. It's been an emotional few days and it probably won't be over soon. From the bottom of my heart, I just wanted to say Thank You.
*just as a note- as of right now, I have more rooms offered than I have MSI people needing them. If that changes, I'll definitely post and ask if anyone else has space.