Celebrity televangelist Joel Osteen finally rebuked against accusations of keeping his 600,000-square-foot mega-church closed amidst the Houston flooding crisis that displaced thousands of residents and families.

Earlier in the week, Lakewood Church spokesman Don Iloff told media that the building had been flooded, with water nearly spilling over the facility floodgate as the storm water kept rising. He added that taking in evacuees would have been unsafe at a point, although doors were never closed to those affected by the massive tropical storm.

He said that while the church has been open from the beginning, it was “not designated as a shelter.”

Iloff maintained that while the church already accepted refugees, the building is prone to flooding, and when it does start to flood, the effect is instantaneous, making it very difficult to take in refugees at a time they are unsure of the building's capacity during the storm. He said that if they had people relegated to staying in the first floor or the multi-floor arena, the news and the public will be writing a different story altogether. “If we had people on the first floor, you’d be writing a whole different story. I’m telling you, it’ll be horrific,” he said.

Televangelist meet backlash online

Osteen tweeted about himself and his wife sending their prayers to Houston storm victims on Saturday but did not say whether the church will be offering shelter, which irked netizens from different social media networks. Criticisms intensified after the statement released by Iloff, which was published along with a list of shelters in the area that were deemed safer than Lakewood church’s 16,000-seat arena.

The messages tipped off the backlash from social media users, who questioned why the non-denominational building was unable to do more in regards to capacity during the storm to help those affected by the massive storm.

Following the criticisms met online, Osteen said that he would open its doors to Hurricane Harvey victims on Tuesday, adding that he, as well as his co-pastor and wife, Victoria, “care deeply” about their fellow Houstonians.

Megachurch finally opens doors to Houstonians

The Osteens posted a statement on Facebook saying that they are working with the city to oversee the many volunteers at shelters around Houston and other points of need in the area. They also noted they are working with Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical aid organization, for many of the major relief efforts.

According to media footage, evacuees were seen with their bags in tow arriving at the church. By afternoon, hundreds of volunteers waited in line to check in residents to the mega hall, and help organize evacuation necessities such as blankets, clothes, diapers, and other supplies. Some of these supplies are to be shipped off to the nearby George R. Brown Convention Center, where many displaced residents have housed during the past few days.