Houston City Councilman stands by comment urging residents to not donate to Red Cross

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Published 12:49 pm, Monday, September 25, 2017

A Houston City Council member who asked people not to donate to the Red Cross said that after several meetings with members of the organization this month, he stands by his original comments.

District E Councilman Dave Martin has met directly with the Red Cross’ administrative team three times since the Sept. 7 council meeting in which he accused the organization of being inept, and referred to them as the “Red Loss.” 

“Don’t waste your time, don’t waste your money (donating to the Red Cross),” District E councilman Dave Martin told the Houston Chronicle in an email “I stand 100 percent behind my initial comments regarding the Red Cross.”

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Martin said his meetings with the Red Cross were to discuss the needs of constituents in his district, many of whom at this stage of rebuilding don’t need food or shelter but rather an influx of emergency funds — particularly for senior citizens who did not have flood insurance.

On Thursday the Red Cross rebooted their emergency funds program for Harvey victims after a week of being down because of issues with their web servers being overloaded. The program allows for those affected by Hurricane Harvey to apply for $400 in emergency funds.

Martin said that along with temporary housing, him and the Red Cross discussed the distribution of $400 emergency funds to those affected in his district, as well as a second round of funds to provide assistance further down the line.

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Though he is unsure whether his comments earlier in the month affected the amount of donations coming into the Red Cross for Harvey relief, Martin wasn’t alone in his condemnation of the organization.

Mayor Sylvester Turner criticized the Red Cross in mid September after Houstonians came forward with allegations that they had not yet received promised emergency funds from the organization.

“If you promise people something, you got to make it happen because, otherwise, don’t promise at all,” Turner said.

Martin said that though he may revisit his “perceived inefficiencies within the organization” right now his current focus is on how the Red Cross will be assisting his district moving forward.

Instead of donate to Red Cross, Martin said he will donate directly toward the repair efforts for Kingwood High School, which was flooded during Harvey and pointed toward a relief fund created by the Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce as a place Houstonians can donate to.

“I encourage Houston residents to seek out local funds and organizations to donate to in lieu of national organizations,” said Martin.

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