Lumberton flood victims scramble to find new home after Red Cross closes shelter

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – The Red Cross reversed its decision to close all of the shelters in Robeson County after Hurricane Matthew Thursday.

North Carolina State Representative Charles Graham spoke with Red Cross volunteers Thursday about the closure.

Graham says there seemed to be a sense of miscommunication between county officials and the Red Cross on closing the remaining two shelters.

Displaced families like Tasha Elmore and her four kids searched all day Thursday for help.

“We’re going to have to leave in three days. Everybody was like where are we going to go,” said Elmore.

Elmore and her kids moved to Lumberton from New Jersey ten years ago. The family has lived in a shelter for over a month after the flood.

But on Thursday Red Cross volunteers shut the doors at the Bill Sapp Recreation Complex.

“The option was that they needed to help us find a place but they said it wasn’t any other shelter available,” mentioned Elmore.

“We did not know where we were going at the very, very last minute, very last minute and it was just nerve racking to try to figure out what were you going to do,” Elmore stated.

North Carolina Representative Charles Graham says until every need is met, the Red Cross should keep a shelter open.

“You know we wanted to take sure and my discussion with Red Cross is that these folks feel good leaving that site as opposed to being forced out,” Graham explained.

“We have case workers finding the best option for each of these families, it could be living with friends and family, finding an apartment, it could vary,” said Red Cross spokesperson Brittany Jennigans.

While those options vary Elmore knew her time at the shelter was short so she and her family had no other choice but to leave.

She began making calls to family members from out of state and other local resources

“I think if they would have told us about certain situations as far as help and not at the last minute because we had been asking for help but you make the best of what you have and keep going,” Elmore said.

The Red Cross will close the shelter at the Robeson County fairgrounds on Monday, according to Red Cross spokesperson Brittany Jennigans.

As of Thursday less than five families are displaced at the Robeson County Fairgrounds.