WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Red Cross will give grants of up to $30,000 to families of those who died or are reported missing in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The first batch of the tax-free payments was sent to families Friday and are meant to assist with short-term expenses such as mortgage or rent payments and funeral costs.
``Although the recent tragedy has touched all of us, it has touched these families in a very personal way,'' Dr. Bernadine Healy, president and chief executive of the Red Cross, said Tuesday.
Red Cross officials said that with as many as 6,241 dead or missing at the World Trade Center and 125 people believed dead at the Pentagon, the organization's gift to families amounts to $100 million.
For now, the grants will not be given to families of those who died aboard the hijacked jets because the airlines have already provided assistance, the Red Cross said.
The size of the payments is based on the number of dependents of a victim and could reach $30,000. It is meant to cover funeral costs, utility bills and three months of rent or mortgage payments up to $5,000. Families could also use the grants for transportation, food, clothing and other living costs.
The Red Cross is contacting the families of those missing or dead and coordinating with employers for verification. Family members are also required to fill out a one-page form available through local Red Cross chapters. Once the application is processed, a check will be issued overnight.