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F1 Fans Pushing Austin Flood Victims Out Of Hotels

Updated: Thursday, November 14 2013, 05:36 PM CST

Formula One fans wanting to experience "the Sports Event of the Year" are booking hotels at any cost, and their money is pushing out flood victims needing a place to stay.

F1 is expected to bring in 300,000 people. 80 percent of attendees are coming from outside of the state. And during the last race hotel occupancy was 97.8 percent full.

Yvette Mancias, a flood victim, stayed at the La Quinta Inn near Highland Mall for the past two nights.

"Check out was at 11 so I got all the stuff out that I had there, put it in the car and that's it," Mancias explained, "I'm still not up to capacity but at least I can function now."

Before that she was sleeping in her car with four other family members in front of her home destroyed by Onion Creek.

"It's all gone," she cried.

Austin Disaster Relief Network paid for Mancias's hotel as well as dozens of other families in need of assistance. Frustration mounted when costs started skyrocketing.

"A lot of the hotels are just restricted from being able to offer additional support based on the demand that has been put on them for the people coming into our city," said ADRN Asst. Director Stephen Brewer.

A study released by the City of Austin reported over the five day period of the race last year, area Austin hotels took in $32 million. Triple what it made in 2011.

The La Quinta Inn near Highland Mall typically costs less than $100/night. This week it's close to $260, according to Hotels.com.

With a room no longer an option for Mancias, she is seeking shelter with the American Red Cross until she can get back on her feet.

"We just don't have the deposit and finally we can't make it. If we could we couldn't be here," said Mancias.

We brought these concerns to the Austin Hotel and Lodging Association. Our efforts are now helping flood victims get back in a hotel room.

Denise Garcia with the organization released this statement:

"The Austin Hotel & Lodging Association and our members are always responsive to the needs of our community during and after a disaster. When recent rain flooded homes in South Austin, our members responded by offering free or reduced hotel rooms to some of those affected, and we even worked to transition those needing assistance to permanent housing. Large events such as the upcoming Formula One weekend always present us with both great opportunities and some challenges. We have a contractual obligation to honor many of the reservations made by incoming guests, but our hotel members always recognize the need to take care of those in our own community. Where possible, we have found alternative accommodations for those affected. We are in close communication with those affected by the large event, and are working hard to accommodate as many people as possible."

By Christie Post

F1 Fans Pushing Austin Flood Victims Out Of Hotels


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