20 Red Cross Volunteers Stay in Luxury Hotel, St. Regis, in Houston

The public relations department of the American Red Cross might accurately be considered a disaster area right about now. During a City Council meeting on September 6, Council Member Dave Martin expressed his exasperation with The Red Cross and its complete absence in Kingwood and Clear Lake, where some of the most devastating flooding occurred. Martin also revealed that Red Cross volunteers are sleeping very comfortably at the St. Regis, a hotel in Houston described as “boutique luxury and Southern hospitality.” To give you some perspective, according to the hotel website as of September 12, the cheapest available room starts at $328 per night.

“I beg you not to send them a penny,” Martin said on Wednesday. “They are the most inept unorganized organization I’ve ever experienced. Don’t waste your money. Give it to another cause.”

During the most violent days of Hurricane Harvey, Martin worked alongside his staff and residents throughout Kingwood and Clear Lake to prepare shelters for storm victims. In the weeks following, he also worked mucking homes and clearing debris. He witnessed some of the worst flooding in his own neighborhood of Kingwood.

“I have not seen a single person in Kingwood or Clear Lake that’s a representative of the Red Cross,” Martin continued. “You know who opened our shelters? We did. You know who sent water and supplies? We did. People didn’t have cots; we got them blankets. We didn’t get a darn thing from the Red Cross. So, if anyone wants to send them money, don’t waste your time. Don’t waste your money. Send it to other causes.”

On Facebook, Dave Martin posted a photo of a Red Cross truck parked outside a luxury Houston hotel. According to the St. Regis Hotel website on September 12, 2017, the cheapest room in the hotel was available for $328 per night. While the Red Cross later stated that they only got around 10 rooms for approximately 20 volunteers at the discounted rate of $179 per night, Martin is less than impressed.

“Many of you have asked about my comments regarding the Red Cross during our City Council meeting on Wednesday” Martin posted on Facebook. “I stand by my comments. However they were directed at the management (paid executive staff) of the Red Cross, and not the thousands of volunteers who are doing a tremendous job. Attached is a picture taken at 10:30pm Thursday night. Please don’t tell me the Red Cross is staying at Houston’s finest ‘five star’ hotel, the St. Regis? Sad thing is, I know they are staying there. As hundreds of millions keep pouring into The Red Cross, they continue to live like kings while we continue to pull sheetrock, carpet, insulation, furniture out of homes.”

Like Martin, ABC13 Investigates found multiple American Red Cross vans parked outside the elegant St. Regis hotel in an area designated for limousines. The Red Cross admits that around 20 volunteers stayed at the five star hotel for days on end, due to “limited availability” in the Houston area, but says their workers doubled up to save money.

“I totally understand what the optics might look like on that,” Red Cross spokesman Charles Blake told ABC 13. “It’s not something we do routinely. It probably does send the wrong message.”

An Email From A Pink Armadillo Reader:

“I took provisions to a cousin in Rockport on the Wednesday after Hurricane Harvey hit. They were volunteer firefighters. I asked about the Red Cross. They said that they had already left. What?! It hadn’t even been a week! They said the response was a joke. They got some sandwiches and toiletries. The real heroes were citizens who drove in with supplies and Mercy Chefs who fed them three hot square meals a day.”
~ Jennifer Nelson of Joshua, TX

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