The American Red Cross issued the following statement regarding Sandy funds:
The American Red Cross currently is spending the money committed for Sandy every day on urgent needs for survivors including housing issues – which is the largest and most pressing need at this time. We are not waiting to spend the money. 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.
In addition, we are working with a number of other community and partner agencies to ensure they have the resources needed to help survivors.
We understand that some people believe we should spend these funds more quickly, but we also need to spend donor dollars as wisely and carefully as we can. We vet every dollar we spend to make sure it is a good use of hard-earned donor dollars.
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. The figure includes both direct Red Cross services and support to other organizations.
As we have seen with other disasters, recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Our Katrina recovery work lasted for five years; our work in Haiti is now entering its third year; and we are still helping people in Joplin, Missouri, two years after that 2011 tornado.