The New York Times ran this opinion article on page A 34 recently. Not that page A 34 made headlines in the way that Hurricane Katrina did just a few short years ago. It galls me to this day that big shot newspapers like the NYT can have opinions about Katrina without having to experience it first hand. And they don’t even know where to begin pointing the finger, either.
Some Sense, at Last, About Katrina
Published: February 11, 2009
The Obama administration seems to have learned the lessons of the Bush team’s disastrous bungling of the resettling of Hurricane Katrina’s tens of thousands of refugees. Under former President Bush, the task of resettling those whose homes were destroyed by the storm and floods in 2005 was initially given to the Federal Emergency Management Agency instead of to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has a long history of housing poor and displaced people through its voucher program.
That grave mistake led to a plan that turned many survivors into wanderers who moved from place to place, cut off from jobs and schools. Washington will need to be more helpful if New Orleans and the Gulf region in general are to recover, not just from the storm, but from the damage wrought by federal mismanagement. Now plans to build affordable-housing developments have run afoul of the credit crisis. Without those developments, low- and moderate-income workers will be forced to pull up stakes and go elsewhere.
That message seems to be hitting home at President Obama’s HUD. For starters, the department’s new secretary, Shaun Donovan, has overturned a potentially disastrous decision that would have ended badly needed temporary rental assistance to about 31,000 households at the end of this month. The last thing the Gulf region needs at this point is more homelessness.
The point of the new policy is to keep low-income families on temporary assistance until they can complete the complicated process of qualifying for a permanent Section 8 housing voucher, which allows them to seek homes in the private real estate market. The hope is that many people being housed under the temporary program would be able to use the vouchers to remain in their homes. This would be especially helpful since rents in the city have skyrocketed since the storm.
The Bush administration wanted the vouchers primarily limited to the elderly and disabled. But Mr. Donovan has wisely expanded them to include all low-income people who are eligible under federal guidelines. This will require more money from Congress. But the expense would be well worth it if it prevents a new wave of homelessness and sustains the Gulf restoration project through turbulent economic times.
More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on February 12, 2009, on page A34 of the New York edition.
The NYT did not publish that FEMA subcontracted agencies to contact Katrina Victims. It galls me that no one realizes what these subcontracted agencies did with the FEDERAL MONIES they were given by FEMA to HELP Katrina victims. The agencies, of course, did not contact victims in anything that would be considered “timely”. Victims were then required to “fill out the necessary paperwork” to see if they “qualify” for assistance. What? After everything that I have been through already, you people want ME to fill out MORE paperwork so that YOU CAN DETERMINE, whether or NOT I deserve YOUR ASSISTANCE? So these subcontracted agencies go on with their non-profit status collecting the FEDERAL MONIES for their so called “JOBS” thereby sucking and blowing just like Katrina with FEDERAL FERVE.