After receiving intense backlash on social media, a megachurch in Houston owned by pastor Joel Osteen is now opening its doors to those seeking shelter from Hurricane Harvey.
Lakewood Church, a former 16,000 seat basketball arena that was converted into a church, tweeted Tuesday at 10 a.m. that the church is now "receiving people who need shelter."
Osteen later tweeted that he and his wife Victoria "care deeply about our fellow Houstonians," and that the church's doors were open to "anyone who needs shelter."
Lakewood is receiving people who need shelter. We are also coordinating with the city as a collection site for distribution.
— Lakewood Church (@lakewoodch) August 29, 2017
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
Osteen became the subject of social media criticism on Monday, after reports indicated that the church was not taking in those displaced by the flood. Osteen denied that his church turned away anyone seeking shelter, though the church tweeted throughout the weekend that it was "inaccessible" and not conducting services.
Lakewood Church was formerly known as the Compaq Center, home of the NBA's Houston Rockets.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.