Pastor Joel Osteen opens megachurch to flooding victims after criticism
Texas megachurch pastor Joel Osteen said Tuesday he would open up his Lakewood Church in Houston to those seeking shelter from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey after criticism on social media.
“Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood’s doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter,” Osteen wrote on Twitter, referring to his wife, Victoria Osteen.
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 announcement came after the pastor faced scrutiny on social media for not opening up the church, which is housed in a former basketball arena and can accommodate 16,000 people, as a shelter.
In a statement posted on Facebook on Sunday, the church had said that the facility was “inaccessible due to severe flooding.”
In a separate statement to ABC News on Monday, Osteen said he was prepared to take people in once other shelters reached their capacity.
“We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need,” the statement reads.
“Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives.”