Evacuees' Funds Running Out

By: Jonathan Martin
By: Jonathan Martin

September 26, 2005
As floodwater in the Gulf Coast begins to dry up, so too are funds from FEMA and the Red Cross that have helped evacuees in Augusta get back on their feet. Now that the vouchers have been used, News 12 is on your side to show you where the evacuees are turning for help.

“It’s gone, once it’s gone it’s gone because you have to budget, you have to really watch what you’re getting,” said Lenora Stockman.

Katrina evacuee Lenora Stockman is talking about the money she got from FEMA and the Red Cross, money that two weeks ago was enough to get by on and now money that is barely making ends meet.

“It’s by the grace of God that we are making it here,” Stockman said.

And she’s not alone. On Monday dozens of evacuees were piling into the Red Cross in Augusta, some looking for money and others looking for an extension on their hotel stay.

After three weeks of buying gas, clothes and food for a family of five, Olga Anderson’s pockets are near empty.

“The money that I have from Red Cross is running out, but I do have food assistance,” Anderson said.

But the question many people have is, how much financial assistance are the evacuees actually getting in Augusta? After speaking with representatives from FEMA and the Red Cross, here’s a breakdown: The evacuees received $2,000 in immediate assistance from FEMA. Red Cross gave debit cards worth $300 per person to each family. And the Richmond County Housing Authority gave up to $650 in rental vouchers.

While other funds from Social Security, unemployment benefits and store vouchers can be thrown into the mix…

“I don’t care if they give us $200, we gonna make them $200 stretch,” said Monice Jessie.

And Monice Jessie says she’ll just sit and wait her turn, knowing that no matter how much more help she gets, any help is good help.

“They got other people out there who need the same assistance we need. So, we can’t keep depending on them,” Jessie said.

On Monday, the Red Cross also stopped providing meals for evacuees at the Ramada Inn. But May Park is still serving lunch and says they will continue at least through the end of the week.

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