Red Cross admits more delays for those seeking assistance

The Red Cross promised $400 to flood victims, but tonight many are telling us they've yet to see money. The organization relaunched its website Thursday, but as of Friday evening, a spokesperson told us it was still experiencing delays.

HOUSTON - The Red Cross promised $400 to flood victims, but many are telling KHOU 11 News they've yet to see money.

The organization relaunched its website Thursday, but as of Friday evening, a spokesperson said it was still experiencing delays.

"Sept. 11, I applied and I filled out a questionnaire," said Nekishia Ladd, who lives in north Houston.

Getting help after Harvey isn't always easy.

"It kept giving me an error message, the site was not working," Ladd said.

The Red Cross initially approved Ladd for the $400 assistance program. However, when the site crashed, a spokesman told KHOU 11 News everyone who qualified would be contacted.

Ladd's heard nothing.

"If you're not going to do something, say you're not going to do it," she said.

When we asked people on KHOU's Facebook page. In just 30 minutes, we got 300 comments flooded with frustration.

"You expect when a company like the Red Cross says, 'Hey, apply for this, we have this for you,' that they're going to deliver," said Billy Handy, whom we met two days ago and is still waiting.

Handy's apartment flooded in Dickinson. He lost everything, including two family cars.

"The first time, you're like, ugh, but then the second time, you don't get any response -- nothing. It's why donate to them," Handy said.

Both families wonder where the donations went, money they thought it wouldn't take almost a month after the storm to get.

"At this point, rather you give it to me or you don't, I want them to be accountable for all of the funds they received on behalf of hurricane Harvey and the victims," Ladd said.

KHOU asked the Red Cross for an interview. They sent us a statement, saying some people have been denied. If you have heard nothing, know that with tens of thousands of applications they're still experiencing some delays.

The Red Cross sent KHOU the following statement:

"The American Red Cross relaunched its financial assistance program in Texas this week, as a way to provide help to the most severely affected households by Hurricane Harvey in 39 counties. As of Friday evening, we have processed and informed tens of thousands of applicants of their status.

"Some applicants have been denied, based on a number of different variables.

"The focus of the Hurricane Harvey assistance program is to deliver funds to those most severely affected by Hurricane Harvey. This includes households that were in those areas most severely impacted by the storm, who were displaced by the storm for several days, and those who have expressed an immediate need for financial assistance to cover life sustaining items like food and clothing.  If you were denied and you feel there has been a mistake, there may be an option for you to appeal – just follow the directions in the message you received. If there is no appeal option, you are probably not qualified for this program, though you may qualify for other forms of Red Cross support, including sheltering, cleaning supplies, food, health and mental health support and spiritual care.

"As this is a multi-step process, we are currently administering tens of thousands of applications – and doing so as quickly as possible. If applicants have not heard from the Red Cross, there is no need to reapply.

"In addition, the Red Cross will be working alongside our community partners to create new programs that address unmet needs, including those long-term recovery needs that were not intended to be satisfied with the Hurricane Harvey Assistance program. Qualifying for the Hurricane Harvey assistance program will not be a pre-condition for applying for and/or qualifying for these programs.

"Lastly, for those whose needs may not have been met through the Hurricane Harvey Assistance Program, but still require immediate assistance, we strongly encourage you to apply for federal assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.

"We understand this is frustrating for some, and we apologize. We appreciate that this aid is needed, and we are committed to deliver it to those most severely affected by Hurricane Harvey as soon as possible."

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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