Damage assessments may delay or affect financial help for families impacted by Ida

The Red Cross now says it must further assess damages to people's homes.

News 12 Staff

Sep 10, 2021, 12:51 AM

Updated 1,049 days ago


News 12 has learned that many families who lost everything from Ida may not get the financial help they need.
The Red Cross now says it must further assess damages to people's homes.
Red Cross volunteers tell News 12 that crews largely based their ratings of damages by what they saw inside people's homes - not outside like Red Cross headquarters wanted.
This means a delay in receiving the $515 each family was promised - or no help at all.
For the last week, Westchester families have been cleaning up the wreckage outside their home.
But now, Red Cross volunteers warn it's the blood, sweat and tears people shed that may cause them to receive no financial help at all -- now that no assessment will be done inside of homes.
"If they find no damage and if it's only minor or unrecognizable, they do not get any financial assistance. The only way the family or the client can get financial assistance is if it's major or destroyed," said an anonymous volunteer.
The American Red Cross in Greater New York says more information for many addresses is needed, but didn't confirm whether the help people receive will be largely based on current exterior conditions.
Ana and Austin Torres, volunteers of the organization for decades, say the Red Cross is letting everyone down.
"The additional problem is if FEMA relies on the damage assessment that the Red Cross does, and if the Red Cross assessment is for no damage, which is not necessarily true in many cases, FEMA is not going to do any better than that," says Austin Torres.
Local volunteers say the reassessment of homes if people haven't received help yet could take several days. This means people will not likely see any money for another week.

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