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Red Cross confusion from Harvey victims

HOUSTON – The race to tear out and clean up flood-ravaged homes in our area continues for thousands of families, and so does the rush to get financial assistance at this critical time.

On Monday morning, people began sharing a link to a new American Red Cross application form allowing flood victims to sign up for an immediate $400 in relief money from the Red Cross.

Angela Thompson of Bellaire applied to get help for her mother and father, who had their home invaded by more than 4 feet of water, requiring them to be rescued by boat.

But within minutes, Thompson said, she was informed the application was denied.

“I put in there that their place was unlivable. I put that they were in a shelter for five days and that they are displaced and needed medical assistance,” Thompson said.

She said her mother and father, Jeff and Claire, were denied any help.

She wants to know why, since they lost so much within hours.

“I think it’s wrong. They are in their 70s. My dad served this country; he’s a veteran who fought in Vietnam and Korea. If anyone deserves it, they deserve it,” Thompson said.

In the Maryland Estates subdivision near Meyerland, Leslie Loeser and her husband Travis suffered thousands of dollars in damages.

Leslie Loeser applied for help through the new Red Cross application and was immediately approved for $400.

She said she applied at 9:30 a.m. Monday and six minutes later, she got an email telling her to pick up her money at a nearby Walmart store.

“There were about 20 people in line ahead of me, but I was in and out of there within 10 minutes or so and they gave me $400 in cash,” Loeser said.

Late Monday, the American Red Cross told Channel 2 Investigates that the charity had already distributed $45 million in those $400 relief packages to more than 100,000 homes.

Some people have complained about not even being able to access the application form to sign up for the program.

The Red Cross said it is aware of problems with the website and is working to correct them. They said because of high volume, the website would not take some applicants any further on the site.

Rec Cross is asking for future applicants to be patient because of the high volume and reminded them that they have 30 days to sign up.

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