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Housing News-Feds Withold Disaster Assistance

by Lynda Carson Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2005 at 11:20 AM

As of yet, HUD has not even offered any temporary Section 8 vouchers to Katrina's victims. (Not you? click here)

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Subject: [SocialSecurityNow] Housing News- Feds Withold Disaster Assistance

Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 23:12:09 -0700 (PDT)


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Roll Back The Rents

To join this group, just send an e-mail to;

September 19, 2005

---Right-Wing Conservatives Oppose Efforts To Assist

Katrina's Disaster Victims---

The Bush Regime continues to pitt Katrina's evacuees

against the poor as another devastating Hurricane

rappidly heads towards the Gulf Coast.

The media is finally starting to get the word out that

the Feds/HUD have refused to offer any emergency

funding to the nations housing authorities that are

providing housing assistance to Katrina's victims.

This is shameful to see the Bush Regime refuse to

provide the needed funding to cover the needs of

Katrina's victims.

The scenario of HUD ordering Public Housing

Authorities to assist Katrina's evacuees without

providing extra emergency funding has pitted the

evacuees against the poor, for precious scarce

resources needed in the housing assistance programs.

As of yet, HUD has not even offered any temporary

Section 8 vouchers to Katrina's victims.

Even if the nations Public Housing Authorities wanted

to assist these victims, many of them lack the funding

to do so, no matter what HUD orders them to do.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands are being dumped out of

the shelters as fast as possible and are left to die

on the streets without assistance. In despair some are

already committing suicide as a result of the

mistreatment of these victims.

Right-wing conservatives are moving forward to

convince the public that the Katrina catastrophe can

be resolved by giving more tax cuts to the rich, while

cutting more from the budget resources being provided

to assist the poor.

One can only wonder what sort of medication the

right-wing is taking lately to deal with their blatant


Now the conservatives are trying to block efforts

being made to house disaster victims in trailer parks

and have already stereo typed Katrina's victims as

Ghetto Trash.

Already the New Republic has published an article

called "Trailer Trash", which spearheaded the attacks

in opposition to efforts to provide house trailers to

disaster victims and their families. This has outraged

people all across the nation.

The poor need housing whether the right-wing

conservatives like it or not...

During catastrophes such as the one unfolding right

before our eyes, right-wing politics need to get out

of the way of humanitarian efforts needed to save

people, even if they are the poor...

Roll Back The Rents urges everyone to speakout against

the lack of housing assistance for all those that need


Roll Back The Rents

In todays report...

Emergency rental vouchers needed, housing officials


By Rebecca Rosen Lum


Posted on Mon, Sep. 19, 2005

Housing officials are urging the Bush administration

to issue tens of thousands of emergency rental

vouchers to meet the competing needs of the Gulf Coast

evacuees and people already on waiting lists across

the nation.

Several hundred newly homeless families have journeyed

to the Bay Area -- 50 settling in Contra Costa County,

30 in Alameda County. More are expected, said John

Gresley, director of the Oakland Housing Authority.

The Section 8 program subsidizes tenants who rent

units set aside for low-income families. The rent and

utilities subsidies pay up to 40 percent of a family's


Before the catastrophe struck, housing agencies

overseeing Section 8 nationwide had already run out of

cash, housing experts said.

Now, "housing authority directors are in the horrible

position of choosing between victims of the disaster

and people who have been on waiting lists for months,

years," said Linda Couch, director of the National Low

Income Housing Coalition. The research and advocacy

organization is based in Washington, D.C.

The Bush administration made no new voucher money

available, but gave housing authorities permission to

bump victims of Katrina to the top of waiting lists.

Richmond has used all 1,600 of its vouchers and frozen

its waiting list.

"I've never seen it this bad," said Housing Authority

Timothy Jones, a 20-year veteran in the field.

"We have nothing to give," he said. "They're saying,

'Take your allocation and give it to these folks.' I

don't get that. Enhance the allocation, why don't


The tax incentives and low-cost loans proposed by

President Bush in his speech to the nation Thursday

benefit homeowners but are useless to low-income

renters, Jones said.

Other housing directors also voice frustrations. In

Las Vegas, Nev., housing officials found shelter for

about 1,000 people displaced by the devastation. But

FEMA has balked at reimbursing the housing agency.

Last week, the Senate passed a bill by Sen. Paul

Sarbanes, D-Md., allocating .5 billion in emergency

housing funds.

Aug. 31, the day orders went out to evacuate New

Orleans' emergency shelters, a group of housing and

redevelopment officials asked the president to release

50,000 tenant vouchers. More than two weeks later, he

has not done so.

But by late Friday, the administration had warmed to

the idea, said a spokeswoman for the federal

department of housing and urban development.

"HUD has not analyzed the Sarbanes bill, but we

believe vouchers should be one of the many tools used

to help Katrina victims," said Donna White. She said

it is "too soon to say" how many might be forthcoming.

"I don't know if 50,000 is the magic number, but I

believe we need to do emergency vouchers," said Sen.

Bob Ney, R-Ohio, speaking during a House session. Two

years ago, Ney, a conservative, sponsored a bill that

would have scrapped Section 8.

The day of the president's speech, Oakland housing

executive Gresley spoke with a man who is putting up

20 displaced relatives in his five-bedroom home.

"They're still busy focusing on getting the kids

enrolled in school," Gresley said. "They haven't

thought about where they're going to live next because

they have a roof over their heads. But this is a

temporary measure."

He expects scores of families in similar circumstances

to deluge housing agencies in the coming days and

weeks, he said.

So do helping agencies in Richmond, where many

hurricane victims are bedding down on relatives'

couches and floors.

"They are looking for housing for people without any

money," said Benita Harris, case management director

for Rubicon Programs, Inc.

"To help them, I need to know who's on first, who's on

second. They shouldn't be told to call the Red Cross.

They've done that."

Reach Rebecca Rosen Lum at 925-977-8506 or


Two Commit Suicide, 55 Other Evacuees Die

WINK TV Southwest Florida - Sep 19 1:03 PM

HOUSTON At least two of the Katrina refugees scattered

around the country have committed suicide, and 55

others have died as well, most of them sick and

elderly people whose conditions may have been worsened

by their stress, authorities said Wednesday.

Click below for full story...


Texas facing new challenges as displaced leave


Boston Globe - Sep 19 12:54 AM

HOUSTON -- Carrying large plastic bags of donated

clothes, the last of the evacuees are leaving the

city's largest shelters, including the Astrodome and

Reliant Park, for temporary or permanent housing,

marking a new phase in an unprecedented resettlement


So far, 23,000 evacuees have been removed from the

largest shelters by the weekend while officials are

trying to find housing for an additional 50,000 people

in hotels or with family, according to Frank Michel, a

spokesman for Mayor Bill White.

The Astrodome, which held 17,000 evacuees shortly

after survivors of Hurricane Katrina poured into the

state's largest city, is now empty. Reliant Park --

the sports complex that includes the dome and had

quickly turned into a virtual city of 27,000 evacuees,

with a large makeshift medical unit and dozens of

social service agencies -- is nearly empty, with 1,400

evacuees left.

The question facing local and state officials is, how

does a state with 25 million residents of its own deal

with about 300,000 new residents -- many of whom are

staying in hotels, short-term rentals, or with friends

and relatives -- but may end up staying in the Lone

Star state permanently?

Click below for full story...


Katrina Survivors May Get Priority Housing

Posted: September 19, 2005 at 6:00 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) -- The federal government on

Monday authorized local housing officials to begin

bumping homeless survivors of Hurricane Katrina to the

top of waiting lists for housing vouchers.

But Bay Area officials say without money for new

emergency rental vouchers, they can't help.

Since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast,

hundreds of thousands of people have remained

homeless. The federal government has sent out the

alarm: give them priority housing.

Local housing authorities are being asked to put those

families at the top of their waiting lists for

emergency housing vouchers.

But Bay Area housing officials say their wait lists

for Section 8 vouchers, which pay market rates for

rentals for low income families, don't exist.

"Our wait list is closed," said Gregg Fortner of the

San Francisco Housing Authority. "We're at 100 percent

utilization. Even if people jump to the top, we

haven't issued a voucher since 2001. We don't have any


Even in the tight Bay Area housing market, available

units are not the problem. The Bush administration has

not released new emergency voucher money to pay for


In San Francisco, the mayor's office on homelessness

is now working to find permanent housing for about 40

families displaced from the hurricane.

"It's a delicate balance of helping while serving

people here who have been waiting for help for years,"

Fortner said.

As far as public housing is concerned, San Francisco

has 6,000 units, a third of which are located in the

Hunter's Point/Bayview section of the city.

100 of those units have been set aside for disaster

victims. Authorities say there will be no problem

bumping any of the 28,000 families now waiting for

public units in favor of Hurricane victims.

"These are units historically people on wait list

bypass," said Fortner. His office sees at least 200

vacancies any given month due to the reputations of

these areas.

Less desirable for most, but for the homeless, it

could be home.


(The House still has not voted to approve temporary

Section 8 vouchers)

Emergency Vouchers Win In Senate

Emergency housing vouchers for the victims of

Hurricane Katrina were approved in the Senate on

September 15. By unanimous consent, the Senate adopted

an amendment offered by Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)

to the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Appropriations

bill for FY06 that would provide .5 billion to

provide temporary rental assistance to families

displaced by Hurricane Katrina families (see Memo,


The House of Representatives approved its version of

the Science, State, Justice, Commerce FY06

appropriations legislation on June 16. Therefore, a

conference committee must work out the differences

between the two bills.

Senator Sarbanes has urged House leaders to accept the

Senate voucher language, and housing advocates must

impress upon House members the need to accept this

much-needed funding in the final package.


LV plan would give million to victims

Las Vegas Sun - Sep 19 12:12 PM

The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday is to consider

spending million in federal funds on Hurricane

Katrina victims instead of on an affordable housing


Click below for full story...


Mobile Home Industry Waiting on FEMA

Austin American-Statesman - Sep 19 2:45 PM

WHITE PINE, Tenn. — Manufacturers are gearing up to

produce cities of mobile homes for Hurricane Katrina

victims, but 10 days after the federal government

received their proposals to address the housing

emergency, the companies are still waiting for a


Click below for full story...


American Friends Service Committee Statement:

President's Katrina Promises Are Not Enough

9/19/2005 8:52:00 AM

To: National Desk

Contact: Janis D. Shields of the American Friends

Service Committee, 215-241-7060

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 19 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Mary Ellen

McNish, general secretary, or chief executive officer

for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), an

international social justice organization and

co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for humanitarian

relief efforts, has issued the following response to

President Bush's address to the nation:

We are encouraged that President Bush pledges to

finally address the deadly impact of poverty, racism

and economic injustice in the United States.

Hurricane Katrina blew the cover off poverty and

racism, and Americans were shocked that the reality of

who we are does not match our beliefs about ourselves.

But years of tax breaks for the wealthy and the costs

of war have robbed us of programs that help people

with shelter, food, job training, and health care, as

well as our ability to respond to emergencies and

build and maintain an essential infrastructure.

Those of us who are most vulnerable -- the poor, the

elderly, minorities and immigrant communities -- have

borne the brunt of the hurricane's wrath. However, we

must not pit the needs of Katrina evacuees against the

many thousands who are also in dire need of affordable

housing and health care, food security, decent schools

and other basic necessities of life.

We must not only provide the charitable emergency

response to those who have been stranded by this

disaster, but also build a country where deep poverty

and hunger are unknown and we have the world-class

schools, health care, and economic opportunities for

all that we wanted to believe we had.

To live up to the promise he made to America, the

President should immediately cancel plans to cut

billion from Medicaid, food stamps and other programs

that Hurricane Katrina evacuees and millions of others

rely on to survive. Seventy billion in tax breaks to

our nation's wealthiest people must be repealed.

Efforts to privatize Social Security must come to an


This shared tragedy must set the nation on a new


Click below for full Press Release...


FEMA Rejects Sprawling Trailer Parks for Evacuees

Mimi Hall


September 19, 2005


WASHINGTON -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency

said Sunday that it doesn't plan to set up huge tracts

of trailers and mobile homes or force tens of

thousands of evacuees to live together in poverty.

"That option is not even being considered," said James

McIntyre, the agency's spokesman on housing issues.

McIntyre said he wanted to clear up days of confusion

about FEMA's plans for the 125,000 temporary housing

units it has ordered.

Some critics, such as housing-policy specialist Ronald

Utt and former federal housing official Bruce Katz,

have expressed concern that the agency could set up

thousands of trailers in remote areas where evacuees

would have little access to jobs, schools, health

care, public transportation and other services.

McIntyre said state and local officials are

responsible for finding available land, and that will

determine how and where temporary housing is set up.

He said FEMA would be able to build a single community

of as many as 25,000 trailers and mobile homes, but he

doesn't expect that would happen.

So far, FEMA has established three trailer parks -- in

Patterson and New Iberia, La., and in Alexander City,

Ala., McIntyre said. The parks are made up of 10, 130

and 300 trailers respectively.

"What you're doing is re-creating public housing,

which governments, whether Democrat or Republican,

have been trying to extract themselves from since the

1970s. They create environments hostile to normal

living," said Utt, a housing policy researcher at the

conservative Heritage Foundation who has worked for

three Republican presidents.

Click below for full story...


Housing Gets High Priority

By Cory Reiss

Ledger Washington Bureau

Published Monday, September 19, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Tammy White was thrilled to move into a

small travel trailer in Lake Wales that the federal

government provided free after hurricanes damaged her

rental house last year.

Almost nine months later, crammed into the trailer

with her husband and four grandchildren, she wants


White said she hasn't got enough money to rent a place

of her own. Her previous home was repaired and the

rent jacked up.

About half of the 15,000 trailers that the Federal

Emergency Management Agency moved into Florida after

four hurricane strikes remain occupied by about 20,000

people. State officials say some may be in those

trailers more than a year from now.

With an estimated 1 million people from Louisiana,

Mississippi and Alabama displaced by Hurricane

Katrina, and the government scrambling for housing

solutions, Florida's lingering trailer parks

illustrate that "temporary housing" after a calamity

is not easily defined.

Some Katrina victims could be displaced for years and

evacuees are scattered around the country.

Which means the Bush administration and the

Republican-led Congress must wrestle with expanding

big-government programs -- such as public housing and

rental subsidies -- that have been targets for cuts,

reform or elimination.

That debate had begun in Congress when President Bush

spoke to the nation Thursday night from New Orleans.

He mentioned federal rental assistance but focused

more on temporary trailers in the effort to empty

shelters by mid-October.

He stressed home ownership.

"When the houses are rebuilt," he said, "more families

should own, not rent, those houses."

Nevertheless, Congress is considering billions of

dollars in subsidized rentals and grants. Katrina has

thrust poverty and affordable housing onto the agenda

like no event in recent history.

Programs for the poor in education and health care,

such as Medicaid, also are receiving renewed

attention, but housing programs stand to make a big


"They actually have to pay attention to it," said

Sheila Crowley, president of the National Low Income

Housing Coalition.


As FEMA scrounged to find 100,000 or more travel

trailers and mobile homes, some Democrats worried

about creating new "ghettos," as one lawmaker called

the trailer cities last week. Other lawmakers,

however, see trailer parks sprouting in the disaster

zones as bringing people home.

The dilemma pits encouraging resettlement of the Gulf

Coast against providing for people scattered across

the nation through programs in the Department of

Housing and Urban Development that budget-cutters have


The Senate last week approved an additional .5

billion for the Section 8 voucher program, which

provides subsidized vouchers for low-income people to

rent in the private market. The plan would fully fund

360,000 vouchers for six months, assuming enough

affordable housing exists.

New Orleans alone lost 24,000 public housing and

Section 8 units, HUD officials said.

Click below for full story...


Feds won't cover cost of housing refugees



Monday, September 19, 2005

Local housing authorities are paying to house the

thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina who have

already arrived in Las Vegas. Those costs have

exhausted the budgets that usually pay to house the

poor but officials say the Federal Emergency

Management Agency is refusing to reimburse them for

the emergency housing.

The official word came from FEMA during a conference

call last Friday, said local HUD Director Ken Lobene.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Las Vegas HUD office had

found shelter for about 1,000 people in 240 families.

Click below for full story...


Las Vegas Homeless Advocates Complain of Plans to

House Evacuees

KLAS - Sep 19 2:06 AM

Some southern Nevada homeless advocates are

complaining that poor people are being bumped from

public housing waiting lists while officials make

plans to shelter Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

Click below for full story...


GOP Eyes Cuts To Offset Katrina

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2005

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., called for dramatic

spending cuts to pay for hurricane relief.

Sen. Barak Obama, D-Ill., said the country could not

fight a war in Iraq, rebuild the Gulf region and deal

with other domestic needs while cutting taxes for the


(AP) House Republicans are looking at delaying some

federal spending, including money for a prescription

drug benefit under Medicare and thousands of highway

projects, to offset the cost of rebuilding the Gulf

Coast, a leading GOP fiscal conservative said Sunday.

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., said there is a need for

dramatic spending cuts in "big-ticket items."

However, Democrats appearing on Sunday news programs

questioned how President Bush can trim the budget to

pay for Katrina recovery and support tax cuts for the


"Where is he going to find roughly half a trillion

dollars over the next several years for Iraq and for

Katrina?" Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., on television

news. "I think we're not leveling with the American



Assistance available to help those displaced by

Hurricane Katrina

WIS-TV Columbia - Sep 18 3:39 PM

There's help for evacuees looking for temporary

housing. The South Carolina housing authority has set

aside 0,000 for rental assistance to help hurricane

victims coming to the state.

Click below for full story...


Coroners return from searching for bodies in New


The Advocate Messenger - Sep 18 8:11 AM

When you go down to New Orleans to gather the dead,

you come back with stories beyond the pale of

imagining. Of long-swamped bodies turned black beyond

recognition, flesh falling from the bones.

Click below for full story...


Death Toll Exceeds 800, as Recovery Continues

New York Times - Sep 16 9:13 PM

BATON ROUGE, La., Sept. 16 - The official death toll

in Louisiana has more than tripled in the past week,

jumping to 579 on Friday from 154 last Saturday.

Click below for full story...!cQ23zQ24JAQ7BQ24Q24SQ60Q23Q60xx1Q23xQ20Q23Q51iQ23Q5BbS_Q24Q5BbmQ23Q5BbS_Q24Q5BbmA9!J_bmQ23Q51icQ24z_!AslSDm


Park City stuck in a housing quagmire

Salt Lake Tribune - Sep 18 12:23 AM

PARK CITY - When Javier arrived in Park City from

Mexico seven years ago, affordable housing for him

meant cramming into a bedroom with five others in a

house that served as a crash pad for two dozen people.

"The first year I was here, I worked shoveling snow

for about an hour," he recalled. "Our [combined]

rent was ,480 a month.

Click below for full story...


Ticket to Nowhere Citations for homeless stir


Jocelyn Weiner Bee Staff Writer

Sacramento Bee

September 19, 2005

Tina Marie Krisanda sat in the back of the paddy wagon

and cried. She'd never been arrested before. She was


The police had arrived earlier than normal that hazy

morning in late July. They woke up Krisanda and the

other homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks and

weedy fields in front of the Union Gospel Mission.

They issued 23 tickets. They made 10 arrests.

In the pale yellow light of dawn, Krisanda and those

huddled around her were breaking city law.

Some of Sacramento's homeless spend entire nights

walking in order to avoid illegal camping citations

that turn into warrants, then arrests. But most risk

curling up in front of the mission, in the shadowy

doorways of downtown shops or along the tree-lined

banks of the American River.

"All I want," Krisanda said later, "is a place to lay

my head down."

Local laws make it illegal to sleep, urinate, drink or

store one's belongings in public.

"It's like you've got to pay a fine to the police for

being homeless," said 35-year-old Prentice Wysingle

III, who became homeless last winter after a failed

relationship and difficulty paying child support.

Depending on whether an officer judges an offense to

be an infraction or a misdemeanor, an illegal camping

ticket in Sacramento can result in up to a 7 fine,

jail time or community service.

Click below for full story...

Roll Back The Rents


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