Kyle Janek, executive commissioner of Texas Health and Human Services, instructed the state body that licenses shelters to work with them.

“Because of the large numbers we were seeing in a short period of time,” Janek said, he directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to lower shelter standards to the same level as after a hurricane. He made the remarks late last month in testimony to a legislative committee.

The regulatory changes reduced the number of square feet required for each child and allowed more children to be housed per available toilet, sink and shower. Some shelters proposed having additional kids sleep on cots – an idea that was approved. A suggestion to give them air mattresses was denied, according to shelter documents obtained by The Associated Press through an open-records request.