Red Cross announces $2 million grant to cover storm shelters for Oklahoma City residents

OKLAHOMA CITY - Officials with the American Red Cross say a multi-million dollar grant will help protect more Oklahomans during storm season.

The American Red Cross announced a $2.075 million grant to the City of Oklahoma City for its shelter rebate program.

According to the city, the grant will provide a $2,500 rebate to Oklahoma City families who qualify for the rebate program.

Officials say homeowners can apply for the rebate, which will go toward the purchase and installation of a new storm shelter.

Homeowners who live within Oklahoma City limits can apply for the program through Sept. 30.

In all, 830 homeowners will be selected for the program.

Experts estimate shelters range anywhere from $2000 to $8,000.

The city will choose 400 homes from Ward 5, which was hit hardest by the May tornadoes.

In each of the other seven wards, 61 homeowners will be chosen.

A shelter can only be installed after participants receive a notice to proceed from the city.

This newly announced rebate program is a part of the up to $10.3 million in grants awarded for storm shelter programs for communities affected by the May 2013 tornadoes and storms.

The grants are expected to support installation of as many as 4,000 shelters.

In January 2014, the Red Cross provided a grant of $3.75 million to the City of Moore for a homeowner shelter installation program bringing up to 1,500 storm shelters to homes throughout that community.

The Red Cross also provided a $48,000 grant to Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity for the purchase and installation of 20 storm shelters in new homes built by Habitat for storm-affected people.

Other Oklahoma municipalities, counties, and tribes, receiving grants including: Newcastle, Midwest City, Norman, Pottawatomie County (program administered by the City of Shawnee), Cleveland County, Canadian county, the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

The specific shelter programs are fully administered by the community receiving the grant.

To qualify for Red Cross funding in communities in the program, shelters must meet or exceed FEMA standards, ensuring shelter efficiency and safety.