Red Cross Long-Term Recovery Caseworkers Cost $3.6 Million

Monday, April 21st 2014, 5:34 pm
By: News 9

Central Oklahoma is quickly approaching the first anniversary of a brutal two weeks of tornadoes that destroyed lives and homes in the state's largest metropolitan area.

Millions of dollars in donations are still being distributed by nonprofit organizations -- including the American Red Cross, which raised $51.7 million following the storms. The Red Cross is in the midst of a long-term recovery process that started several weeks after the 2013 Moore tornado. The process is designed to help victims move forward by creating plans to rebuild homes, find jobs and assist people in recovering from injuries.

"All the organizations that helped us were great," Moore resident Nanci Coley said.

Coley is one of thousands of people whom received help or are still receiving help. Caseworkers of six non-profit organizations are working toward the long-term recovery effort.

Those non-profits include:

- American Red Cross

- Catholic Charities

- Salvation Army

- Society of St. Vincent de Paul

- Oklahoma United Methodist Church

- Church of the Harvest

"It really is a collaborative effort to make sure community needs are being met," said CEO Janienne Bella of the American Red Cross of Central and Western Oklahoma. "We could never have done this on our own."

Currently, the Red Cross has 34 full-time temporary caseworkers and other employees who are set to be on staff for 18 months to two years. The caseworkers' employment and benefits costs the nonprofit roughly $3.6 million –- that's about 7 percent of the total $51.7 million the organization collected from all over the world.

The six charities have already closed 1,500 cases. Bella says 1,107 cases are still open throughout the nonprofit group. More people are continuing to seek help, according to nonprofit officials. As the anniversary of the killer storms approaches, the Red Cross has seen an increase in new clients throughout Central Oklahoma, especially in hard-hit Moore.

"Moore has not been forgotten," said Coley. "Moore pulled together."

Bella says the American Red Cross hopes to spend or commit 90 percent of the $51.7 million dollars collected by May of 2014.