Increasing number of complaints against American Red Cross as more residents are denied help

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HOUSTON-- An increasing number of residents are getting frustrated, as their request for help from the American Red Cross has been denied.

Tonya Patterson and her two sons were stranded inside their home for four days, as nearly three feet of water surged in during Hurricane Harvey.

"My bed is raised so the three of us just sat there from Saturday through Wednesday until the water receded. I was afraid of snakes and other insects that could've came in with the water so my son had this raft that he used to navigate through the house to get us food and snacks," Patterson said.

Patterson said her family lost all of their furniture, appliances and three of their cars in the flood, but was still denied the $400 assistance package from the Red Cross, even though she checked every box necessary to qualify.

"On the online application, they ask you a couple of questions like were you in the flood zone, were you in the disaster area, and all of those met my qualifications, but it still wasn't enough," Patterson said.

MaryJane Mudd, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross, said the Red Cross is not declining people because of geographic location. Mudd said anyone who believes they've been mistakenly denied, can appeal the decision online or through the phone.

"Imagine hundreds and thousands of requests coming in through a very short period of time. And since this is the first time we've used this program, there have been some hold ups based on volume," Mudd said.

Mudd said over $109-million has already been distributed through the assistance program to more than 274,000 households.

"We understand people are frustrated but we are please asking them to be patient. Please know that we are never going to stop. We will be here until Hurricane Harvey is a thing of the past. We will be here for this community," Mudd said.

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