Getting immediate cash for Irma victims possible, but challenging

Charities offer financial assistance with rent, bills

CENTRAL FLORIDA – Today is Eric Wright's eighth day as an evacuee from the Florida Keys.

"I live in Key West, and my house is gone," he said.

He's a business owner and is not making money right now. So he stopped by the America Red Cross  (407 894-4141) at 5 N. Bumby Ave. in Orlando looking for a little financial help. What he got was a phone number.

"You come here and they hand you a FEMA number. I already have a FEMA number. It's very frustrating," he said.

But there are some ways to get immediate cash.

If you have a credit card, you can call your company and ask to extend your limit, request to delay payments and even ask for free money - some credit companies are giving Irma victim customers $150 or more in credit.

You may also want to turn to Catholic Charities of Central Florida (407-658-1818) at North Semoran Boulevard in Orlando. Starting Monday, it's working to help Irma victims with bills, including rent.

"We work directly with, for example, the property manager, so we can take care on behalf of the person who's in distress," said Gary Tester, the executive director.

The United Way offers assistance with bills, too. Hurricane victims can request that and other services, including the location of a local food pantry or a place offering hot meals, just by dialing 211.

"You can imagine it's going to spike during a disaster like this. You know, resources are tight. We launched a relief fund that is available,"  said Ashley Blasewitz of the United Way.

For a full list of food pantries click here. For more information on how to get food, water and supplies, click here.