MOORE — The city of Moore is using a $3.75 million grant from the American Red Cross tornado relief effort to fund the purchase and installation of at least 1,500 storm shelters for local residents.
The ShelterMoore program runs until Feb. 28 and is aimed to offset the cost of building safe rooms by as much as $2,500 per homeowner.
Those whose homes were destroyed or experienced significant damage in the May 20 or May 31 tornadoes will be given first priority.
Gayland Kitch, Moore's director of emergency management, said the process of setting up and approving the grant occurred over several months. But now that the program documents have been finalized, Moore residents in need of a storm shelter will get the help they need.
“The American Red Cross received a lot of monetary donations from people all over who wanted to help the folks in Moore by funding safe rooms,” Kitch said. “Fortunately, we had the experience of doing similar things through FEMA in the past.”
Eligible candidates for the program must be the homeowner and resident of a single-family residence located within Moore city limits. The location must be the homeowner's primary residence.
Moore residents should go to www.cityofmoore.com/sheltermoore to see if they meet guidelines. They can then register for the program at www.soonersafe.ok.gov.
Moore residents who are already registered for SoonerSafe do not need to sign up again. First-time users register online and provide basic information on a questionnaire to determine eligibility and priority.
Tami Didlot, 48, applied for the program. Her home in Moore, located a half-block from Veterans Park, was leveled by the May 20 tornado. Didlot has since had a storm shelter installed on her property and is about eight weeks away from her home being move-in ready at its original location. She said her shelter is eligible for a rebate.
Didlot said the application process was easy and she's hopeful the program can help offset the $2,800 cost for her in-ground concrete shelter — a safety measure she had not taken before the May 20 tornado.
“I feel like I'm fortunate from the standpoint that I'm well insured and a lot of my loss is covered,” she said. “But a lot of it is not covered. Anything that we can get to help us definitely takes that burden off. It's been a little bit of a challenge.”
Kitch said he hopes the program is another steppingstone toward a complete rebuild from tornado destruction in Moore.
“A lot of our residents already have safe rooms,” Kitch said. “We had 2,500 homes that had safe rooms on May 20, but this will increase that significantly.”