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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
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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
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
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
CONTRA COSTA TIMES
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
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
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
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 email@example.com
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... http://www.winktv.com/x466.xml?URL=http://localhost/APWIREFEED/d8ck9a105.xml
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
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... http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/09/19/texas_facing_new_challenges_as_displaced_leave_shelters/?rss_id=Boston
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,"
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
Less desirable for most, but for the homeless, it
could be home. http://www.kron4.com/Global/story.asp?S=3870810&nav=5D7lBwNp
(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. http://www.nlihc.org/current.htm#6
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... http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/lv-gov/2005/sep/19/519378813.html
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... http://www.statesman.com/business/content/shared-gen/ap/Finance_General/Katrina_Manufactured_Housing.html
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... http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=53549
FEMA Rejects Sprawling Trailer Parks for Evacuees
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... http://www.knowledgeplex.org/news/115810.html
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
LONG WAITING LISTS
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... http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050919/NEWS/509190356/1004/RSS&source=RSS
Feds won't cover cost of housing refugees
BY VALERIE MILLER
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... http://www.lvbusinesspress.com/articles/2005/09/19/news/news04.txt
Las Vegas Homeless Advocates Complain of Plans to
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... http://www.klastv.com/Global/story.asp?S=3824817&nav=menu102_2
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
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... http://www.wistv.com/Global/category.asp?C=69536&nav=menu36_3
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... http://www.amnews.com/public_html/?module=displaystory&story_id=16260&format=html
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... http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/17/national/nationalspecial/17bodies.html&OP=7a3e4573Q2FQ23p
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... http://www.sltrib.com/ci_3039956?rss
Ticket to Nowhere Citations for homeless stir
Jocelyn Weiner Bee Staff Writer
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... http://www.knowledgeplex.org/news/115775.html
Roll Back The Rents