Dallas church wants reimbursement for housing Harvey victims

Church struggling to help storm victims

DALLAS - The Way of Truth Church on S. Buckner Road has become a refuge for Sherry Linton and her daughter after Hurricane Harvey flooded their home in Bridge City, Texas. 

"Pretty much anything we need assistance with, they haven't put us on hold," said Linton.

That includes a room of their own, three hot meals a day, and rides to school. They're among 17 who have sheltered at the church at some point in more than a month since the storm.

Pastor Michael Hodge said 12 people remain. He says running a shelter is expensive. And he's now having trouble paying the bills.

"The electric might get cut off, the water might get cut off," said Hodge.

Hodge said he didn't plan to run a shelter. People just started showing up, and showing him his church was on a Red Cross shelter list. He said he had sheltered folks during Katrina and Rita, but had not spoken with anyone beforehand about sheltering people this time.

"I said, 'I don't know what you're talking about. I can't afford it this year," said Hodge. "You look in their eyes and they're saying, 'Could you please help us?'"

The Red Cross says they list all known open shelters, not just those run by the Red Cross.

The Red Cross said since Way of Truth had opened as a shelter on its own, it is regarded as an independent shelter and will not get funding from the Red Cross, although the Red Cross did provide some supplies.

After speaking with Hodge, they took his church off the list.

"We already had people here, we were a running shelter at that point," said Kelicia Hodge, who has been serving as an administrator for the shelter and keeping track of paperwork and receipts.

The Hodges want their fund, Michael L Hodge Ministries, Inc., to be reimbursed.

"I'm not trying to do anything, but do the right thing," he said.

FEMA said as of Friday, it did not have a Request for Public Assistance application form from the Way of Truth Church, which is required to receive potential reimbursement under the Public Assistance Program.

You can download a form at to the Texas Division of Emergency Management website, which can be emailed to TDEMRECOVERY.RPA@dps.texas.gov. The form must be returned by 5 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2017. 
 

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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