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Dallas Church Seeking Reimbursement For Hurricane Harvey Costs

DALLAS (CBS11) - A Dallas church trying to get reimbursed for housing victims of Hurricane Harvey, was told this week it needs a letter from the City of Dallas, proving the city asked the church to open the shelter. The Way of Truth Church has been seeking reimbursement since evacuees showed up at the facility on Buckner Boulevard in September.

The email Hodge shared from Doug Bass, the emergency management chief for Dallas County, says he won't process the request for reimbursement without the letter. It must be from a City of Dallas official, he wrote, associated with sheltering operations.

Bass would not answer questions about the requirement Wednesday, responding by email that he referred a request for information to County Judge Clay Jenkins office.

Hodge says his church is now running low on money, after spending more than $60,000 on food and supplies for 17 people during September and October. He says power and water bills spiked. There is enough money to pay bills for another month, but he's uncertain after that.

"I went into all of my funds," Hodge said. "I went into everything that I had. Because I knew the State of Texas was going to do the right thing."

Hodge said he would not have opened up  the church, but evacuees provided a phone picture of an online list. It showed his church listed along with a gym, youth center and convention center as approved shelters.

Aware of public backlash against churches that did not take in evacuees in Houston, Hodge said he opened his doors. Being included on the list, he assumed, would pave the way to being reimbursed.

To this day though, he doesn't know how his church was listed.

The Red Cross of North Texas said it did add the church to a national registry when Hodge asked for materials like cots for people to sleep on. However, Hodge said he only made that request after people were already at this door.

An aide in Sen John Cornyn's office said they shared Red Cross information on shelters to help get the word out. Three different people CBS11 spoke to in the Texas Division of Emergency Management were unable to answer questions about the list, or if the church would even be eligible for reimbursement.

In the meantime, the church is doing its own fundraising with a GoFundMe account, hoping to last long enough for reimbursement to come in.

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