Jonesboro Relief Center's Assistance Shifts to Financial Aid - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Jonesboro Relief Center's Assistance Shifts to Financial Aid

September 13, 2005 – Posted at 4:40 p.m. CDT , updated at 4:48 p.m.

JONESBORO , AR --  FEMA has been working in Northeast Arkansas trying to help disaster victims get established and financially back on their feet.

Help is still coming in at the former Jelks building in Jonesboro, which is now serving as the city's central relief center for local hurricane evacuees.  While disaster victims are searching for much needed assistance, there's been a shift in the relief efforts at the Jelks Center.

Yolanda Harris barely escaped the horrors of the New Orleans Convention Center.  In Jonesboro for nearly a week, she says she plans to stay here and write a book about her ordeal.

“I love it here! The people are so nice and holy.  I feel that they would give the shirt off their backs and walk down the road naked; it's overwhelming after all we've been through,” said Harris.

She found help at the Jelks Center, where on Tuesday, volunteers were working to set up funding for evacuees.

“Everybody is displaced, they don't have access to their funds and their bank accounts in Louisiana. So we are just trying to help them out, so they can get access to their funds and get back on their feet,” said Bank of America Assistant Banking Center Manager John Street.

After applying to FEMA for financial assistance, disaster victims are able to set up direct deposits with area banks.

“We haven't had any trouble helping anyone, and we've been able to help everyone whose come to us, which is a good feeling because having to turn someone down in a time of need like this would be awful,” said Street.

Even during such an awful time, a positive message can still be spread.

“I love you mom, and I'll call you. I miss you a lot too. Once I get settled into my apartment, I’ll probably be down for the weekend. Bye, love you!” said Harris.

A spokesperson for FEMA told K8 News there have been almost 8,000 hurricane evacuees that have registered for help in the state of Arkansas , with nearly 400 in Jonesboro alone.

Disaster victims seeking assistance from FEMA can go to www.fema.gov or call the agency's toll free number at 1-800-621-FEMA.

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