HOUSTON - If you lost your home in Hurricane Harvey and you applied for financial help from the Red Cross and then received a denial via text, chances are like Melanie Jones, you'd be frustrated too.
"We do know that people have been in the system that have been denied money, that deserve it, and will receive money," said Red Cross regional CEO David Brady.
Brady knows people like Jones aren't alone. The Red Cross did not have numbers of how many families have been denied but they did want to release this: so far, more than 274,000 families have received financial assistance. That totals more than $109 million.
Unfortunately, there are so many families out there who are still waiting. The Red Cross says there are no excuses for these problems, but this is a first-year program never attempted before.
"The intent is to give people the money, it's not to withhold it," said Brady. "It is a very challenging process. This was a giant storm that creating challenges, but we're doing the best we can to get money into the right people's hands."
Brady says the system is set up to prevent fraud, so being 100 percent accurate on the online form is critical.
"Mistakes being made are filling out information incorrectly," said Brady. "One digit, one character off could kick it back."
Bottom line is this: If you live in one of 39 affected Texas counties and were displaced or impacted by Harvey you qualify for Red Cross money and need to appeal ASAP.
"Most people that are denied that follow the appeals process are getting money," said Brady.
It's critical to follow through from start to finish on the appeal's process. If you're denied again after that process we definitely want to hear from you.