Red Cross to offer assistance for Hurricane Hanna damage

HARLINGEN — The American Red Cross will begin providing financial assistance and recovery planning to eligible households damaged by Hurricane Hanna.

The program will serve households that sustained major damage or were destroyed, according to a press release.

David Luna, Executive Director of the South Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross, said this is a standard procedure typically done after a disaster. Luna said it is part of the recovery process available at Red Cross.

“The recovery means trying to help people with resources to get back to their home. We have teams all over the Valley and they went to the homes of those individuals that have asked for assistance,” Luna said.

“The next phase is to provide casework and financial assistance. We made the announcement on Wednesday and those individuals that had their roof or walls affected have to show evidence of major damage,” he said.

Heads of households are encouraged to call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) option 4 to start their application. Service is available in English and Spanish.

To ensure COVID-19 safety guidelines, the Red Cross assistance program will be available to the public by phone.

Red Cross caseworkers will work with clients to confirm eligibility and provide assistance via a prepaid MasterCard.

Major damage is indicated by significant structural damage to a residence that requires extensive repairs. This may include substantial failure of the roof, walls or foundation.

“These are homes that have had major damage. Those are individuals who really need help. This assistance is for temporary assistance. For example, an individual may need funds to buy food, clothing, medication, basic needs they need temporarily to move forward,” Luna said.

A residence that is destroyed is one that is a total loss or with damage so extensive that repair is not feasible.

To qualify for Red Cross assistance, heads of household may be asked to verify their identity and residency.

“People have to show ID. Examples will include a driver’s license, a passport, resident card, something that can verify their ID. That is going to be critical,” Luna said.

Documentation to validate identity can include U.S. or foreign passport, government issued driver’s license or ID, permanent resident card or consular identification.

“The other part is they need to provide proof of residency in the community that they live. It can be a bank statement or utility bills, lease or rental agreement,” he said.

“Something that shows their address is going to be key,” Luna said.

Documents to validate proof of residence can include a deed, a mortgage statement, on property letterhead, signed by a landlord, a monthly utility bill or bank statement, or an official document such as mail from a child’s school or vehicle insurance card, dated between May 1, 2020 to present.

Regardless of whether a household qualifies for financial assistance, other forms of Red Cross support may be available for others who were affected. This support includes food, health and mental health support, spiritual care and more. Call 2-1-1, visit www.211texas.org or visit https://redcrossdisasterresources.auntbertha.com/ to learn about other resources that may be available.

“We encourage folks to call and have their information ready. The Red Cross will continue to provide other services and the caseworker can connect individuals to those kinds of services,” Luna said.

ecavazos@valleystar.com