Red Cross helps more than 700 families after EF-1 tornado

Red Cross helps more than 700 families after EF-1 tornado

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - More than a week after an EF-1 tornado ripped through Shelby County, families are still trying to pick up the pieces.

Come Friday, more than 700 people who once lived in the Cottonwood Apartments will have to find a new home.

Miguel Vasquez says last week's tornado damaged his apartment so badly that he has to leave.

Vasquez has lived at the Cottonwood Apartments for about seven years.

"It costs money to move our belongings one by one to another place. It's not easy going somewhere else,” said Miguel Vasquez, resident.

Vasquez says, luckily, he’s been able to find a place to stay for the time being.

He knows the other Cottonwood Apartment residents aren’t as lucky.

The City of Memphis announced damage to the complex made buildings unsafe to live in forcing people to vacate.

"Where are all of those people going to go? Imagine that. Moving isn't easy. Where will they go,” said Vasquez.

The Red Cross, along with local and state agencies, have been working tirelessly to help those in areas like Parkway Village.

Executive Director John Brown says they've provided nearly 700 clients with assistance -- that includes financial support.

"When they leave that particular case worker, they know what’s going to be on that card and then they’ll activate it for them to be able to use at any retailer of their choice. Whether it’s food or whether it’s clothing or whether it’s a night or something somewhere,” said John Brown, Mid-South Red Cross.

The Red Cross has also opened a 24-hour shelter, but finding people a permanent place to stay is the goal.

"There have been apartment complexes and other agencies that have said we have comparable housing in the comparable pricing,” said Brown.

As for Miguel Vasquez -- he's just grateful for the things he does have.

"This is part of life that this happened. We can't get mad at anyone. We just have to be patient. Like I said before, the most important part is that we're okay,” said Vasquez.

Wednesday, Shelby County commissioners took a step towards helping relief efforts.

They voted to provide $166,000 for storm damage mitigation related to areas impacted by the EF-1 tornado.

This resolution will now have to be approved at the next county commission meeting.

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