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May 16, 2014

American Red Cross releases $6.5M for shelters

NORMAN — The American Red Cross is awarding $6.5 million in new grants to communities in Oklahoma to help homeowners affected by last May’s tornadoes install new storm shelters, according a an official announcement Thursday.

Recipients include  Norman and Cleveland County.

Moore has received $3.75 million for storm shelter purchase and installations — this grant funded up to 1,500 storm shelters in homes throughout that community.

Norman and Cleveland County each will receive $520,000 for storm shelter rebates.

“The city of Norman will be funding shelters for people who were already on the storm shelter list,” Norman Fire Chief James Fullingim said. “We applied for a storm shelter rebate program through the state previously, and that program is yet to be funded.”

Fullingim hopes that program will be funded in the near future. In the meantime, people who already applied could qualify for the current money.

“There is no need to call,” Fullingim said. “The funds will be going to people that were in the affected areas of the storms. The details are being worked out, and the funds will have to be accepted by the city council.”

These are rebates for storm shelters within city limits. City of Norman officials will be contacting those who will be awarded grants in the near future.

Cleveland County Emergency Manager George Mauldin said the county will award grants based on previous tornado damage.

“We’re not going to take applications,” Mauldin said. “We’re going to contact people who are eligible. The only people eligible are people affected by last year’s tornadoes.”

A series of tornadoes and storms struck central Oklahoma in May 2013, devastating homes, two elementary schools in Moore and inflicting huge losses on families and communities throughout the region.

Norman and Cleveland County were initially hit May 19 with an EF-4 tornado that destroyed several homes. The next day, May 20, an EF-5 tornado swept through Moore.

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