Evacuee Housing Needs Addressed

The Red Cross will provide shelter for as long as it's needed, but the push is on to get people in permanent housing. Well over 100 evacuees filled the Nacogdoches Public Library Tuesday to learn the latest about getting into a house or apartment and how to pay for it.

DETCOG Director Walter Diggles is the man with the answers. He's now heading up evacuee housing needs in a 12 county East Texas region. He told the crowd of mostly homeless Gulf Coastal residents that a goal has been set entirely with them in mind. "Today is September 13 and we are going to try to have this process completed and everybody who would like to be placed in a facility or housing will have it completed by October 1st,"assured Diggles.

The crowd rushed for a one page housing application. They were told FEMA would pay for their relocation to anywhere in the United States except New Orleans. The funds will pay for 18 months of rent.

Furniture and household collections continue as more evacuees move into homes and apartments. Love In The Name Of Christ and North Street Church of Christ are collecting items. Beds, mattresses, tables, chairs and living room furniture are all needed. Call either location if you need to have items picked up. There was also a furniture drive held for the evacuees in Lufkin. FEMA will also pay for furniture replacement up to a certain amount.

Those purchases may be made as there's new progress in getting evacuees some spending money. Some evacuees hold notification that their FEMA check is at the post office. Red Cross checks are also arriving, but no longer will evacuees receive the funding from the local Red Cross agency.

American Red Cross Director Glenna Harkness explained, "Now they are going to have to call a 1-800 number and it will come from a national data base. They will be able receive assistance that way."

The change comes not from a lack of funds, but a desire to better coordinate applications. To secure Red Cross funds evacuees should call 1-800-975-7585.