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FEMA Will Pay for All Shelters Housing Evacuees

By: Jennifer Cavazos
By: Jennifer Cavazos

Among the unsung heroes during both recent hurricanes were local houses of worship. Most didn't wait to be asked before opening up their churches and checkbooks and even though they're due FEMA reimbursements money wasn't the motivation.

"You know whether we're reimbursed or not, we're glad we could help and we feel like we did the right thing," says Pastor Kevin Randolph from Hillcrest Baptist Church.

Hillcrest is just one of the 38 shelters that housed evacuees. While their generosity was needed, they now could be feeling the pinch in their budget.

Hillcrest estimated about $4,000 was spent for food, electricity and other necessities. And have yet to decide whether they will ask FEMA for money back.

"We had great experience with people who came our way and we'd do it again if we were called to do it and we're gonna let the money work itself out," says Pastor Randolph.

Many churches and organizations like Hillcrest can expect to be reimbursed for the generous efforts in helping out evacuees from Katrina and Rita. They just have to apply and FEMA says it should take up to a couple weeks to receive their money.

38 shelters opened up their places to evacuees and while all of them are eligible for some sort of funding, only three were Red Cross Shelters.

"We opened up those first three shelters at the county's invitation and they opened up the rest. It was just a matter of who had staff and the ability and we take direction from the county. So as we begin to wind down, the county identified which shelters they wanted to remain open," says Sharon Zambrzycki with American Red Cross.

Designated shelters by the emergency management are county and city buildings like the Brazos Center. Any church and organizational shelters all volunteered their services.

"We started off with a medium size list and it’s grown from Katrina to Hurricane Rita. It’s probably two fold. Its not that we're designating them, these are organizations that are volunteering their services in helping out our community," says Brian Hilton with Emeregency Managment.


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