DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – For Louis Boudreaux, a quick game of football with his four children ages five to nine outside the Dallas mega-shelter brings him joy.
But after being flooded out of their apartment in Orange, Texas three weeks ago, Boudreaux says they feel like a ball that’s been tossed around from agency to agency.
This is their third shelter and they still haven’t scored any financial disaster assistance — weeks after they arrived here and despite what they say they were told. “Red Cross, FEMA would help us get back home, give us cash benefits to help us get situated and it has gone on two weeks and I’m still here and I haven’t gotten one cent.”
Boudreaux says when the National Guard came to evacuate them on August 26, water was coming into their apartment and was running over the hood of their Chevy Suburban.
He says FEMA has denied him assistance so far because there hasn’t been any way for him or anyone he knows to meet an adjuster to verify their apartment was flooded. “I was told you have three hours to come and meet with the adjuster but I’m six and a half hours away from home. With no transportation.”
Everytime he calls FEMA’s 1-800 number, Boudreaux says he gets a recording.
And even after waiting for hours on the phone, he says no one picks up, and it’s the same story when he calls the Red Cross.
CBS11 watched as he called both agencies and heard the same recordings.
Boudreaux says, “FEMA and Red Cross, I don’t know who’s running it but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s going on. Giving people the run-around, some people, the only help they have is this cash money.”
Boudreaux says he and his family need the money. He says bills are piling up, and that he hasn’t been able to get to work to earn a paycheck.
His job is safe he says, but he just wants to get home.
Boudreaux isn’t alone.
A spokeswoman with the Red Cross, Lisa Morgan says there are 660 Harvey evacuees at the Dallas mega-shelter at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, and that it’s safe to say, none of them has received any cash assistance from either the Red Cross or FEMA.
Morgan says the agency is adding call takers to its hotline to ease the backlog of requests for cash assistance.
Red Cross spokesman Jay Bonafede says they gave $45 million in assistance to 100,000 households on Monday.
He says the agency’s website was overwhelmed, and that they plan to provide more assistance to those in need beginning Thursday, September 21 through October 10.
A FEMA spokeswoman has said people like Boudreaux should continue trying to get in touch with their agency.
While he may have lost everything in his home, he has not lost his faith. “Trust in the Lord, Jesus. Been thankful for the ones who are trying to help.”
Boudreaux did get some good news.
The Tzu Chi Foundation bought him and his family and other evacuees bus tickets home. They’re scheduled to leave Dallas Friday night.