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Hurricane Sandy aid programs get speed boost from charities

Nina Pineda reports
October 25, 2013 3:54:14 AM PDT
Four charities that raised money for Superstorm Sandy relief efforts, including the American Red Cross, have agreed to either accelerate spending or kick in more cash as a result of negotiations with New York state.

The Red Cross pledged an additional $6 million on top of the $308 million it raised previously for Sandy relief, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Thursday.

Schneiderman didn't explain why he had pushed the Red Cross to give more, but in July his office expressed concern that some people who donated in the months following the storm might have been confused about whether their gifts would benefit only Sandy victims or Red Cross operations in general.

Speaking at a news conference in Long Beach, Schneiderman said his office is trying to ensure that all charities raising money in the name of Sandy victims deliver the promised aid promptly.

"We have been dogged about making sure that when they raise money and tell the world they are going to spend it on Sandy recovery, they in fact spend it on Sandy recovery," Schneiderman said.

Three other charities have agreed to a timetable for spending money still sitting in the bank on the storm's anniversary: The New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, Kids in Distressed Situations and the Brees Dream Foundation, which was established by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Red Cross spokesman Roger Lowe said the organization was working collaboratively with the attorney general to address unmet needs related to the storm. He also said the Red Cross and Schneiderman had "worked together to develop ways to further transparency and awareness for online donors."

Of the $308 million the Red Cross raised for Sandy relief, about $280 million has been spent or redirected to other organizations.

The $6 million in additional funding includes a $1 million grant, previously announced, that will help homeless storm victims pay for hotel rooms.

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