On September 18, 2013, the American Red Cross dedicated its long-term recovery center located in Moore. Joined by its partner agencies, local elected officials and the Moore Chamber of Commerce, the long-term recovery project officially launched with a ribbon cutting.
While the pomp and circumstance of a dedication officially opened the office, case managers from the Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Oklahoma United Methodist Church started working a month earlier.
With the Red Cross leading the way, case managers have identified 2,500 potential long-term cases. They are actively reaching out to these clients and assessing their needs. The call center housed in Moore is averaging about 60 calls per day with those still needing emergency and intermediate needs. Currently, there are 357 active cases. One of those is Melissa Snyder of Oklahoma City.
Snyder and her husband were living in an RV when it was damaged by hail on May 20. Eleven days later, the hail finished the job, making their RV not longer livable and filled with mold. Like many of the clients the Red Cross met with following the tornadoes, she filed with FEMA. However, after many missed meetings with FEMA due to her visits to the VA hospital, she and her husband were denied assistance. Not sure what to do, Snyder turned to the United Way who put her in contact with the Red Cross.
She was assigned to a Red Cross caseworker who first helped get her and her husband into a new home. The Red Cross helped with the deposit and first month’s rent. She also received a Home in a Box from St. Vincent de Paul.
“It’s the difference between being homeless and not,” Snyder said. “I almost cry every time I talk about it. The Red Cross has been amazing and there for me.”
Snyder says getting into a new home has relieved a lot of stress and things are starting to turn around. The Red Cross is now helping her navigate the appeal process with FEMA.
“I can’t say enough good things about the Red Cross and the help they provide.”
The Red Cross and its partners continue to work with Snyder who is about to go into her second month in her new home. The Red Cross has already offered to help cover their rent.
All cases are unique and assistance will be based on individual and family needs. In addition to help with new housing, the Red Cross can also assist with home repairs, medical bill help and referrals for mental health and spiritual care. By working with partner agencies, case managers will be better able to fill gaps.
For those needing assistance, they can call 1-866-477-7276.
In addition to case management, the Red Cross is also working with long-term recovery committees and community partners on recovery projects. Some long-term recovery projects already underway include repairing the water well in Steelman Estates and providing teachers and support staff with Moore and Mid-Del school districts funds to replace personal classroom items.