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West donations could get distributed faster soon


It's taking a long time to distribute donations to the people of West, but it could get much faster.

The West Long Term Recovery have started the process of approving funds to the people of West. People from all around the nation and even from other countries have donated nearly $4 million to the LTRC for the people of West. Before early October, no money had been distributed.

For the past couple weeks a committee has met with case workers who explain the unmet needs of a person, without telling who it is. The committee then decides how much money to give to that case. The LTRC then writes a check to a business to fulfill that need.

There's currently $72,000 approved for seven to eight cases according to LTRC director Karen Bernsen. Bernsen says the committee meets once a week to approve funding.

That could change on November 1 when Bernsen says they should double the amount of case workers. There are more than 500 people for four case workers, but on November 1 four more could come to help share the load. Bernsen says they also hope to have two committee hearings a week to quicken the process.

Bernsen went on to explain the first few hearings took longer because everything is new and each case is unique. Once they go through a few cases, the committee will have a better idea on how to distribute the money.

Some residents, though, are still fed up with the entire process. One woman says she just doesn't deal with the LTRC anymore.

Driving through West, you can also see more signs of moving forward. Many houses are coming up including one home that looks like it's being built with styrofoam legos. It's called an "Insulating Concrete Form" house or ICF. It has two walls of styrofoam with concrete poured in between to better insulate the home and keep it safe.

"It adds another level of safety, it adds another level of comfort. If this were to happen again then being in the house like they were last time. They wouldn't be in nearly as much danger and it just gives them another, feeling of peace," owner of Brazos Construction Tyler Martin said.

Martin is building the home on Reagan St. for a family with triplet girls at West High School. He says they hope to have the house built before Christmas.

There are still multiple lots vacant, waiting for homes to be rebuilt. Mayor Tommy Muska has said he hopes to have 50 homes built before the end of the year.

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