VIDEO: Houston Mayor Turner Slams Red Cross For Unfulfilled Promises

As Hurricane Harvey victims continue to have trouble getting assistance from The Red Cross — some unable to reach the organization through their crashing website, others complaining that the provisions at George R. Brown Convention Center are unacceptable — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has some scathing words for the scandal-ridden organization.

The Red Cross’s new website, specifically relevant to Texas flooding victims, won’t be available until September 21, roughly an entire month after Hurricane Harvey struck. The new website will allow families in need to apply for $400 grants.

Wanda Short is a 70 year old disabled woman from Porter. She lost absolutely everything when Harvey flooded her home.

“I slept in my car for three days and I finally got a room, but I’m just devastated,” Wanda told ABC 13. “I’m disabled, but I still get around. I still take care of my house and my yard … but it’s all gone.”

You read that right. A disabled elderly woman slept in her car for THREE DAYS.

Wanda’s daughter, Kelley Coats, tried to get The Red Cross to help her mom. She waited on the phone for five hours, only to be told by The Red Cross, “Well, there’s no more funds available. Try again another time.”
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“I left my name, my number, my address. I left her address, not one single word back,” Kelley said. “My mom flagged them down in the neighborhood, and they didn’t even get out of their car. They talked to her through the window and said, call the Red Cross number.”

Sadly, Wanda’s story is not an isolated incident. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner is dismayed at the way Houstonians are being treated by the organization, and he had this to say:

“If the Red Cross — if anyone — If I tell you I’m going to do this, and I don’t do it, then I have to be willing to accept the criticism. Because right now, when people are in a very difficult situation, they’re relying on what you tell them. If you say you’re going to do A, B, C, or D, you better do A, B, C, or D, or you better get out front very quickly and tell people why you can’t do A, B, C, or D.”

To date, over $300 million has been donated to the Red Cross. Mayor Turner conceded that helping so many people is difficult, but was clear that he wants answers both for himself and for his fellow Texans.

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The Red Cross issued this statement on Friday evening:

“On September 21, the Red Cross plans to launch a single website where severely impacted households from 39 Texas counties can apply for $400. We expect the website to have sufficient capacity to handle all registrations; applications will not be accepted through any other website or phone number. Registration will remain open until October 10.”

$400.

Check out our ongoing coverage of this story:

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