31 July 2007

The F Word

Actually the F words. FEMA, flooding, federal and formaldehyde are some f words that come to mind. FEMA has spent $4.3 billion in federal money providing rent subsidies to house Katrina victims. $4.3 billion? How is that possible - if the federal government was planning on handing out this kind of money to pay for temporary housing, why instead did they not spend some portion of that to renovate flood damaged homes in New Orleans for these same people? At the end of this debacle, there are going to be tens of thousands of New Orleanians living in places such as Houston, in rental properties, that will be no closer to returning home than they were 20 months ago. $4.3 billion could have gone a long way to buying or rebuilding permanent housing in New Orleans for these same people. This policy creates a dead-end for those in need, and a stream of dependable federal money for rental property owners in large cities outside of New Orleans. Quit spending money out-of-state, and start paying to bring these people home.

Also, our nearly empty FEMA trailer parks are designed to slowly sicken and kill the very people that they are supposed to temporarily protect. Not only did FEMA decide to convert our parks, open spaces and other public areas to FEMA trailer parks, and then subject local residents to barely livable conditions monitored by security guards in a concentration camp-style communities (see the Baton Rouge Advocate's previous attempts at talking to residents of these facilities for proof), FEMA has purchased trailers that contain formaldehyde at relatively high concentrations. Nice - I guess that is one way for the federal government to handle these poor, displaced people in the long-term. The plan must be to sicken these people so that they have to abandon the trailer parks for assisted living homes. The FEMA trailer parks are a disaster, all of the residents should be offered free rebuilt homes in New Orleans, and the federal government should immediately remove these carcinogenic, tin death traps and restore our parks and open space so that local kids have a decent, safe place to play.