LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Before Hurricane Harvey, Robin and Debra Collins lived in New York. However, a serious illness had both of them rushing to MD Anderson Hospital in Houston.
Previous calls with the hospital encouraged the Collins to make the drive to Texas, even though Debra hadn't been accepted yet, but, they were turned away at the hospital and forced to evacuate to unfamiliar areas because of Hurricane Harvey.
"Sleeping in a U-Haul for four or five days, at a camp for four or five days, and then they tried to stick us in a nursing home," said Robin Collins. "But, all this time, it's been costing us money."
The money the Collins had saved up to rent an apartment in Houston soon dried up, leaving them penniless and staying at a motel in Lufkin. But, they hadn't given up.
"I've got a notebook I could show you," Robin Collins said. "Red Cross, FEMA, Catholic church, Methodist church, Mormon church, Baptist. All they would do is give you another phone number, go here, go there, go here, go there."
Robin said that he wouldn't think of going back to New York before getting his wife treatment, even after Red Cross denied their application for money.
"You're not a resident, you know, they said we weren't entitled to nothing," Robin Collins said. "FEMA done the same thing. They said, well due to the fact that we didn't lose a home, that was it, you know. It was all about a home. Because we didn't have a home in Houston or any of the destroyed areas."
Don Brawley with Red Cross of Lufkin said that he feels for the Collins' situation, but his organization is unable to help them.
"Obviously, people coming here are disaster victims, but, you know, it's just the way our guide line are around here," Brawley said. "We can't provide financial assistance for people who were not living in the state's disaster proclamation areas."
According to Red Cross, they will no longer be accepting applications for the Hurricane Harvey Immediate Assistance Program.