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"It's not something that I accept:" City leaders concerned over policy change to Red Cross

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Red Cross is not coming to ten zip codes in Milwaukee and now one city leader is speaking out.

The Red Cross says the change is to keep everyone safe but some city leaders like Alderman Cavalier Johnson are concerned about how the change will affect fire victims.

"It's not something that I accept," said Ald. Cavalier Johnson.

Several city leaders, including Alderman Johnson, are upset with the Red Cross policy change. A change in which volunteers will no longer come to ten zip codes in the city. Fire victims instead will have to meet them at a police station or the Red Cross main office.

"I think the Red Cross' mission has it going to places where people are in need. Not just here in Milwaukee, but across Wisconsin, across the United States and around the world."

A couple of those zip codes fall in Johnson's district. He remembers a time when his family home went up in flames and the red cross was there. "They were consoling my aunt and uncle, my cousins who lived here, and myself. I can only imagine how they would feel as they're watching their home go up in a blaze and the fire department working to put the fire out, that they would have to set all of those feelings aside and get a cab."

The Red Cross says the change is to keep volunteers and victims safe.

They released a statement saying the following,

This new procedure is based on an assessment of where the majority of fires occur, surveying volunteer disaster responders, and through meetings with the Milwaukee Police and Fire Departments and Red Cross leadership to determine the best way to manage the needs of the community. 

Johnson hopes to discuss this more with other city leaders. "I created some communication with the city clerk and opened up a communication file so that the Red Cross can come before the Common Council and offer their explanation for why, exactly why they're cutting back the service in Milwaukee like this."

The mayor also plans to meet with Red Cross officials on Tuesday.

The Red Cross says they've helped out at five fires since December 22 and all families were taken care of.


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