I'm trying to get undug from email... I got the family moved in and set up a computer... (thank goodness my neighbors are too dumb to configure their wireless router correctly)
If you don't get a reply, many, many thinks for the kind words.... I would have never guessed that being a refugee was so time consuming. For starters, we've had to move 3 times in like 4 days. -Anyway (to get to the point) in my stack of emails, one reader said his church was raising quite a bit of money and he asked if I had a better idea than giving it to the Red Cross blindly. After giving it some thought, here is part of the mail I sent him....
if you guys could get a charge card number to use it, you could then use it for paying rent for people... (hey I like this)OK you get the idea. If your group is raising money, I think this is one of the absolute best things you can do with it right now. Sure they are setting up shelters but look at the numbers. We have ~1,000,000 people homeless and the biggest shelter we have (in the Astrodome) is ~22,000. We're going to be putting people in closets for months.
(Brainstorming as I type) This storm is VERY different from any other storm we're used to... Most of the time, survivors can get back at their homes (even if damaged) in a day or two.... We're going to be out for months! Rooming is killing people who have no income.
I've been working the phone pretty hard and this is what I am finding... You can get a furnished apartment type thing for ~2000 a month including everything... Phone, lights, cable, gas - the works. (really if you think about rent/mortgage etc that ain't bad... the problem is people have no income to cover it).
Let's (for arguments sake) say you raised 80,000 again. You all could pay a month's rent for 40 people! Dude that would be incredible - AND AND AND It gives you guys built in scam prevention.... You all can give the rent directly to the hotel/management company. If they are worth their salt, they have a web site and a land line to be sure.
Someone sends email explaining their plight, you guys find them a room (or let them point you to a room) and you guys pay a reputable hotel/property management company for a month. (I say a month because you get a big discount for a month AND in Tenn, if you rent something for 30 days or more, you avoid the 19% hotel tax. So your money is more effective buying a months worth.)
That way 100% of the money is used properly, no waste and I can tell you, that is the best bang for the buck right now... I know 5 families that would break down in tears to know a stranger(s) paid their rent for a month.
If you want to do this, I'll be happy to work both ends, I found a property management person who works for Marriott properties. She found me the apartment I'm in right now. I can get her to finding housing.
- Sadly I can find needy people all over town.
To the extend I am able, I can try to find housing for people and goodness knows I can find needy people in Memphis. I'm unemployed anyway, so I may as well help out. -- But there are plenty of "mes" in the world. If your church group or other group can raise money, find someone close to the action to coordinate your efforts.
Generically speaking, take this general idea and beat on it a bit to make it meet your situation.