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Donated West Funds Yet To Be Dispersed

(credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Brian New
Brian joined the CBS 11 News team in 2013 after working a...
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WEST (CBSDFW.COM) - Nearly nine months after the fertilizer plant explosion, many people in West are finding that the road to recovery is uneven and long. While some residents have already rebuilt their homes, others have not even started.

With most West homeowners underinsured, some have yet to come up with the money needed for repairs or to rebuild. An estimated $30 million is still needed just to fix and rebuild all of the damaged homes in West.

The $3.6 million received in donations, which is overseen by the nonprofit West Long-Term Recovery, is not enough to cover all of the need. But it would help. The problem, residents stated, is that most of that money has not been released. “I think it’s probably going to take a full year to disperse the funds,” said Ronnie Sykora, board president of West Long-Term Recovery.

The board met in a private meeting on Tuesday night, as it does every week, to review another half-dozen cases of families in need. So far, the board has released $650,000 to 43 families — around 20 percent of the total donated funds.

Sykora said that he understands the frustration of those waiting for help. “The process ends up being too lengthy,” he said. “But it is a process that has been used in areas where housing has been destroyed, to allocate the money in the best way to help the most people.”

Part of the reason that the application process is taking so long, Sykora explained, is that the board wants to exhaust all other possible aid for families and use the donated funds as a last resort. “We are doing all we can,” he said. “We are giving as much as we can and, at the end of the day, we are putting it in God’s hands.”

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