Post-Rita Assistance Runs Dry

Reported by: Amanda Ward

The money's run out, but the hope has not.

Pastor J.L. Franklin of Bethel Metropolitan Baptist Fellowship Church is thankful he's been able to help the people in his community through the Household Establishment Funds Program for Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes. The organization is made possible by grants from the LA Family Corps and the LA Health and Rehab Center.  Franklin says 75 percent of the money went to New Orleans and with the remaining 25 percent, they were able to help nearly three times the amount of people than originally thought.

Franklin says, "We were first told we'd only be able to help about 575 families, but we've served almost 1500."

Applicants had to meet specific requirements:

1)  Residents must be from Calcasieu or Cameron Parish.
2)  Those over age 60 are automatically eligible.
3)  For those under age 60, requirements include having a job and a specific income.

Franklin says, "Those who need it, they say $1500 may not sound like a lot, but if you really need it, it was good for them. It came at a very needed time." Residents could get a voucher to be used for furniture, appliances, or rent and utlitities.

After Hurricane Rita, Emily Green, a mother of 6 children, had to leave her damaged home and move into a small apartment with one of her daughters.  She applied for assistance and she says the money restored her faith.

"Before, I couldn't afford to go out and buy me anything," says Green, "but, I was able to go and by my daughter a bed, a washer machine, and ice box. It was so very much helpful."

Franklin now hopes he can help other people who applied and didn't get money. "We knew it would happen. It's inevitable. The dollar runs out. I just hope there'll be another way to help these people who need it," says Franklin.