The American Red Cross issued the following statement in response to the letter from New York City council members on Sandy funds:
We completely understand the sense of urgency that the council members have; we have that too, but we also need to spend donor dollars as wisely and carefully as we can. The American Red Cross is cutting checks every day for urgent needs for survivors in New York and New Jersey. Just today we announced a $1.25 million grant to the Brooklyn Community Foundation to help people in that community.
The needs from Hurricane Sandy are still great and there is more work to do. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Red Cross is there to help with those needs.
Trained Red Cross workers are meeting one-on-one every day with those in need, linking them to social service programs, aiding with security and utility deposits, helping them fill out important paperwork or identifying child care resources. Individual assistance involves going family to family assessing needs - and this takes time.
In addition, the Red Cross is working with a number of other community and partner agencies in New York and New Jersey and giving grants to ensure they have the resources needed to help survivors. We carefully vet each grant request to determine impact and whether the impact is measurable, and we also look for organizations that keep their overhead to a minimum like we do. That way we insure that we’re being good stewards of our donors’ dollars. That process also takes time.
The Red Cross has spent or made commitments to spend about $192 million for Sandy disaster relief in the first six months — nearly two-thirds of the $303 million that we’ve raised for Sandy in the past seven months.