Press Statement
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
September 21, 2008
Contact: Tina Tran, 512-217-5882

Senator Ellis Holds Post Ike Tele-Town Hall

September 21, 2008 - On Saturday, Sept. 20th, State Senator Rodney Ellis and ACORN called constituents throughout Harris and Fort Bend Counties to provide them with the most current information on the Hurricane Ike recovery effort. Using technology, donated to ACORN by Tele-Town Hall, LLC, Senator Ellis and ACORN dialed thousands of households, instantly allowing constituents to participate in a live, real time question and answer session, without having to leave their homes.

With well over 1,600 listeners, Senator Ellis, representatives from ACORN, top executives from CenterPoint, including president and CEO David McClanahan, a representative from the state Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), and officials from the City of Houston gave out information regarding power restoration, the emergency food stamp program, and city clean-up.

Scott Rozell, general counsel for CenterPoint, warned listeners not to attempt to fix downed lines on their own, but rather to be patient and wait for servicemen.

Terrence Fontaine from the Mayor White's office notified listeners that PODs would begin to decrease as local grocery stores become operational.

Caroline Maxey from HHSC advised that residents in the 31 affected counties may qualify for emergency food stamps. Although HHSC was able to attain a federal waiver, the waiver does not allow HHSC to disregard the income criteria, however if people suffered income loss due to the storm, they may still be eligible. With the help of Senator Ellis, HHSC was able to open a third Houston location that can take food stamp applications at Abundant Life Church at 11230 Harwin.

Toni McElroy, president of Texas ACORN gave out a number that residents can text to receive hurricane recovery updates from ACORN. Text IKE HELP to 29222.

A second tele-town hall meeting will take place on Sunday, September 21 at 4pm. Media can call the listen only line at 540.409.4372 x 11928#. The call in line is limited to the first 200 callers.