Despite some Houstonians’ disappointment, the Red Cross is defending its performance after Harvey

Evacuees escaping the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rest at the George R. Brown Convention Center that has been set up as a shelter in Houston, Texas, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

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After Harvey, Houston wasn’t just flooded with rain, receiving countless donations from all over the world.

Survivors are continuously grateful for the support, but some are questioning where the money is going — including several Houston officials.

While many are receiving praise, the Red Cross is taking some heat for its performance after Harvey.

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Councilman Dave Martin, who represents Kingwood, chastised the charity for underperformance:

“I beg you not to send them a penny,” Martin said in an address. “They are the most inept unorganized organization I’ve ever experienced.”

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett shared Martin’s concerns, saying he asked another nonprofit to run the shelter at NRG stadium because he didn’t trust the Red Cross to do so:

“The Red Cross could not have done this. They wouldn’t have had the wherewithal to do it,” Emmett said in a statement.

After Harvey, the Red Cross opened several shelters and remains in charge of the George R. Brown Convention Center, but storm survivors still housed in the shelter are becoming increasingly frustrated with the agency.

David Walker, a survivor displaced at the shelter for nearly two weeks, spoke with KHOU about his experiences with the nonprofit.

“I’ve been going to the Red Cross every day, calling, (but) they say the system’s crashing,” Walker said in an interview.

Additionally, people living in the shelters claimed they got sick from food provided by the Red Cross, and the agency is incurring the wrath of social media, with rumors floating around on how it allegedly uses only a fraction of the money it receives to help victims.

The Red Cross acknowledged their website is overwhelmed; however, they deny the claims of ineptitude and misused funds, ultimately issuing a statement outlining what they’ve done.

According to those talking points, in addition to running hurricane shelters, the nonprofit stated it provided $45 million in donated funds to more than 100,000 households impacted by the storm, additionally promising more assistance to come as people are approved.

Despite the contentions, the Red Cross was in the disaster area before the storm designating volunteers to hand out food and supplies to recovering storm victims.

Since it is not a government agency, it also provides services to everyone regardless of citizenship status.

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The nonprofit further stated $.91 of every dollar donated to the hurricane recovery funds will be spent to improve Harvey’s Houston-area impacts, meaning the money will not be saved for another disaster or spent on other activities.

More than 3,000 volunteers are currently assisting in Houston with the Harvey recovery, and the Red Cross said it will remain on-the-ground for months to come.

If you need or would like to help in Houston, read more here.

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