TMZ: Joel Osteen’s church was fully accessible during Harvey, neighboring hotel filled to capacity
HOUSTON, Texas — According to TMZ, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas was fully accessible during Harvey — and Osteen opted to lock the doors to his megachurch at the same time a neighboring hotel not only stayed open, but filled to capacity.
TMZ is reporting the situation at the hotel proves roads in the area were accessible during Harvey. TMZ reported Monday church officials said the floodwaters just wouldn’t allow them to open the 17,000-seat facility.
Osteen has faced criticism after video of the church was posted to Twitter Monday.
Church officials disputed online criticism, stating “we are prepared to shelter people once the cities and county shelters reach capacity.”
“Victoria and I care deeply about our fellow Houstonians. Lakewood’s doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter,” Osteen tweeted Tuesday, referencing his wife who is also Lakewood’s co-pastor.
TMZ on Tuesday spoke with someone at the DoubleTree Hotel in Houston — directly across the highway from Lakewood Church — and TMZ was told it was half full Thursday when Harvey started barreling toward Houston. When Harvey was doing his worst on Saturday, the hotel had swollen to 100% capacity, with 388 rooms booked.
TMZ was told nearby residents easily drove to the DoubleTree through Saturday night.
The church finally opened its doors to those needing assistance on Tuesday.