Service Centers Are Not In All Damaged Areas - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/10/05 - Lufkin

Service Centers Are Not In All Damaged Areas

by Ramonica R. Jones

From Jasper and Livingston to Beaumont and Port Arthur, storm victims from all over East Texas and the Gulf Coast come to the Red Cross Service Center in Lufkin every day for post-Rita financial help. It's a long drive for some who keep running into dead ends when asking for assistance in their own communities.

Orange County resident Amber Battles said, "We went back on September 28th and found out that we have nothing left, so we're trying to find financial assistance that we can get because neither one of us are working. We finally got in touch with the Red Cross, and they told us that the nearest location from Center, Texas was in Lufkin."

A lot of storm victims have driven to Lufkin from smaller areas that don't have a service center, but many of them won't even qualify for Red Cross financial assistance.

Terry Marquardt, assistant site manager, said, "Folks can go ahead and register and tell us that they've had major damage to their home - they can't live in them - and then we will make sure the damage assessment is complete, and if our damage assessment verifies, then they will be eligible for the little bit of financial assistance."

The help Red Cross offers is a bridge between when damage happens and when storm victims can get federal help. FEMA is the main source of recovery, while the Red Cross focuses on people still living in shelters, now running out of money.

As for small communities that do not have a service center, Red Cross representatives say there has to be enough damage in those areas before a center will open there.

If your residence is included on the current list of communities approved for financial assistance, you should apply for help as soon as possible by calling 1-800-975-7585.

If your residence is not included on the list, you may still be eligible for help if there was damage to your home.

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