A whiteboard at an evacuation centre states the Red Cross accommodation is at capacity. Photo: Submitted
If you registered with the Red Cross in Alberta but found yourself still paying an accommodation bill while evacuated from the NWT, you’re not alone.
Multiple evacuees have reported that experience to Cabin Radio – registering and staying at a hotel only to be hit with a bill for some or all of the stay, or registering but being unable to stay in a designated hotel and ultimately footing the bill to stay somewhere else.
Concerns passed to Cabin Radio include accounts from Edmonton evacuees who say their hotels told them, after their stay, that the Red Cross was only covering certain dates.
MLAs have heard those accounts, too, and Kam Lake MLA Caitlin Cleveland raised the issue in the legislature on Wednesday.
Describing one example, Cleveland said: “Residents from Hay River were told: ‘Get out now, go to Grande Prairie.’ They got out now, they went to Grande Prairie.
“They weren’t set up and ready for residents yet. The Red Cross said to them, ‘Go book yourself at a hotel.’ They later found out they didn’t pick the right hotel, so they weren’t covered.”
Communities minister Shane Thompson responded that anyone in that kind of situation should contact the department.
“Tell us what happened and then we will work on that. We’ve heard that situation in Edmonton and other places. Reach out to us and we will work on that,” he said.
Cleveland, clarifying, repeated back to the minister: “What I heard there is that if somebody has registered with the Red Cross, and they still had to pay for their own hotel, that they can come back to the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and seek compensation for the cost of those hotels.”