housing

Pictures of FEMA's wasted trailers

There are some pictures inside a lot in Hope Arkansas where unused FEMA trailers are stored here. Row upon row upon row. Now, of course, I have no way to verify the report, and it comes second-hand. However, a trucker who delivered some of them claims that they're deluxe units, complete with microwave ovens, new furniture, etc. And, FEMA is stacking them close together... in soft soil... so when it rains they sink and move into one another causing damage.

FEMA putting smily face on trailer parks?

Freelance writer Chuck Hustmyre tried to visit a FEMA trailer park in Baton Rouge and got the run-around. None of the FEMA employees would allow him to interview residents. While a certain part of that is no doubt due to a concern for their privacy, there might also be something else involved.
Named "Renaissance Village", it appears to have a flourishing drug trade and various other forms of crime. And, it's alleged that employees of the park have made off with donated items like turkeys.
Long recount here (also here).

New Orleans might raze over 43,000 homes

According to this, NO has inspected 128,000 homes on the east bank, and they will soon raze 2,500 of those. Around another 3,000 were also marked as inhabitable, but their status will be verified before a final decision is made. But:

The vast majority of the homes in the city -- about 68 percent -- were coded yellow, or judged to be sound but with structural damage. And [chief technology officer, Greg Meffert] said it's likely that as many as half of those homes, or about 43,000, will eventually be demolished. But city officials hope to leave that decision in the hands of the homeowner as much as possible, he said.

"In Mississippi, Canvas Cities Rise Amid Hurricane's Rubble"

The NYT reports on canvas and plywood tent cities being constructed in Mississippi. Frankly, they don't sound that overly bad:

The tents, built by the Navy Seabees at a cost of $1 million, can be heated and cooled, and have plywood floors and walls that create an 18-by-32-foot wooden box inside the exterior fabric. They are set up in long, straight rows and distinguished only by alphanumeric addresses painted on their exteriors.
Free meals, financed by the federal government, are served in a giant white tent. And in Pass Christian, there is a community center with carpeting, comfortable couches, a couple of televisions, and a collection of donated books and toys. The toilets are portable, without running water, and are lined up near a tractor-trailer that serves as a shower house.

And, in case the NYT ever says something along the lines of there being jobs that Americans won't do:

At the Long Beach tent city, five miles east of Pass Christian, the entire inventory of Robert Stover's possessions consists of a mattress on the floor, a Bible, a few donated books and a plastic bucket that he turns upside down and tops with a small pillow to create a chair.
Desperate for work, Mr. Stover, 45, a former plumber at an area hospital, found a job at a cigarette distribution warehouse. But it is in Gulfport, miles away, and he has no car, so he spends three hours each day walking to work. When it rains, his protective gear is two trash bags: one covering his body, the other wrapped around his head.

NBC discovers racism in New Orleans. Again!

What with all the talk about more per capita deaths of whites than blacks, NBC seems to have struck back. On tonight's NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams announced - somewhat triumphantly - that racism had been discovered in the housing situation for evacuees. I only caught the last part of the report, and it doesn't appear to be online, but it seemed to only concentrate on one large apartment company. If there was any racism involved it was probably at the local level and very likely does not reflect their overall corporate policy.
Then, Martin Savidge offered a separate report, discussing how an older lady was worried about the local government trying to force her off her property to build casinos. Then, in a disjointed jump, Savidge discussed the building of "New Urbanism" communities, pointing out that they were for those who were rich... and white!

Others say New Urbanism is designed for a limited kind of resident, primarily wealthy and white. Most homes in Seaside sell for more than $1 million.

Yes, Martin, I'm sure those developments have covenants prohibiting non-whites.

Which is exactly what Elaine Parker is afraid of - that plans for the future will make her and her neighborhood a part of the past.

You'd only know it from the video, but Parker is white.
Truly a pathetic pair of reports from NBC.

St. Bernard Parish: people living in cars, barns, tents

St. Bernard Parish president, Henry "Junior" Rodriguez, says they need 12,000 trailers, but only a small percentage of that amount have been set up:

...1,400 trailers are sitting unused in St. Bernard Parish. The parish ordered them from a private contractor days after the hurricane hit on August 29, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency has not agreed to pay for them.
There are also more than 5,000 FEMA mobile homes in Arkansas sitting unused, CNN has learned.
FEMA responded Tuesday, telling CNN it is ready to deliver 125,000 trailers to the area but that parish officials "still have to identify places to put them."

From the pull-up-your-socks file, Rodriguez says:

"We got a serious situation in St. Bernard Parish... We got people living in tents and automobiles. We got people living in barns. We got people living in their houses -- in tents... This is the beginning of winter. This is unacceptable."

It's certainly unacceptable from the standpoint that those residents have paid for such federal assistance through taxation. However, perhaps it would be best for all concerned if they considered how this would have been handled a hundred years ago: residents would have gotten together and helped each other out rather than simply giving up and relying on the federal government.

FEMA still paying for 42,000 hotel rooms

People who sought refuge outside the 10 states that absorbed most of the evacuees from hurricanes Rita and Katrina may remain in hotels at the government's expense while their applications for rental assistance are processed, officials announced Saturday.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency continues to pay for an estimated 42,000 hotel rooms in 47 states and the District. In the 10 states that took in most of the homeless evacuees, FEMA recently pledged to continue paying their hotel bills until Jan. 7, after its previous Dec. 1 deadline was met with widespread criticism.
Outside the 10 states, however, about 2,000 families still faced a Dec. 15 hotel assistance cutoff. But FEMA said Saturday it will extend the hotel program to Jan. 7 for those evacuees who are eligible for cash aid but have yet to apply for or receive it...

Continued here.

FEMA going to court over housing deadline

From this:

Evacuees hoping to preserve a government program providing hotel rooms to those displaced by Hurricane Katrina have their day in court on Friday, when a federal judge hears an array of complaints against the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
In addition to hearing claims that Katrina victims face unfair and premature eviction from hotels, Judge Stanwood Duval will hear testimony and arguments that FEMA has wrongfully denied rental assistance to some evacuees.
"We plan on calling three victims, at least two of whom are about to be evicted from hotels," said Howard Godnick, an attorney for evacuees, who is seeking to make the lawsuit a class-action on behalf of all Katrina evacuees.
FEMA had set a Dec. 1 deadline for ending the hotel program but extended it to Dec. 15 after widespread criticism. In addition, 10 states -- Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas -- will be allowed to apply for extensions lasting until Jan. 7.
But, even after extensions, some could face homelessness if the hotel program ends, Godnick argues. FEMA officials contend that anyone properly registered with FEMA and eligible to receive fedral assistance will have the tools and the funding they need to get temporary housing.

Houston mayor upset over FEMA Dec. 1 housing deadline

Houston mayor Bill White claims he was "blindsided" by FEMA's decision to (more or less) stop providing evacuees with free hotel rooms starting Dec. 1:

...White also objected to a mandate that refugees move into apartments with three-month leases, noting that few landlords offer such short leases, thereby sharply reducing the number of FEMA-qualified apartments.
"Why would FEMA restrict or eliminate the supply of apartments at the same time we are trying to move 19,000 people out of more costly hotels?" he said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.
The letter, dated Wednesday, demanded an immediate reply. The letter was also sent to David Paulison, acting director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other top executives at the Homeland Security Department.
There was no immediate response Thursday from officials with FEMA and with the Homeland Security Department...

FEMA: No more hotel rooms after Dec. 1

FEMA has spent at least $250 million on hotel rooms for evacuees, and 53,000 families are still staying in rooms. They intend to stop paying for that on December 1.

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