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Saturday, September 24, 2005

Clearing The Shelters - FEMA Rental Grants

NOLA.com reports that FEMA announced rental grants for people stuck in shelters from Katrina:
Launching a new program to provide temporary living assistance and to clear shelters nationwide of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, the federal government in the next few days will begin making lump-sum payments of $2,358 toward three-months rent for each qualified evacuee who obtains housing anywhere in the country.

The news Friday took Gov. Kathleen Blanco by surprise and instantly opened a new rift between her administration and President Bush on the critical issue of how Louisiana will lure back its citizens after the dramatic New Orleans diaspora caused by the storm. It also placed Blanco and Bush at odds over the option of erecting large trailer parks in Louisiana for evacuees.
Well, if they want to come back to LA they can, and then they'll be able to use the grants there. This seems like the most cost-effective solution. It will get people out of the shelters, and it will allow them to move to communities that fit their needs. If you set up huge trailer parks, you have to provide water and sewage systems for them. And will people be able to find jobs? Will they be left sitting in shelters for another month or two while all this happens?

Rita provided proof that we have real problems with the levees and flood control systems in and around New Orleans. Among the problems with New Orleans are the locks on the Mississippi, which aren't working. From satellite pictures, it seems clear that quite a bit of the outlying wetlands are now shallow ocean. This means that New Orleans will be more vulnerable to flooding so that the outlying floodwalls and levees must be built higher. It's obviously going to take a while to be sure that rebuilding can safely begin in the lower-lying parishes.

Nor is this just for LA - there are people from MS who will use these grants too. With so much of the housing gone, I don't see an alternative to some dispersal.

$2358 and 90 from now, wanna bet there is going to be a crises?

Wanna bet on who is going to be called a racist?

Call me cynical.
So what's the likely hood we wind up with a new block to check on census forms.

Former resident of New Orleans.
Oh, I forget where, but I have seen accusations of an "ethnic cleansing" of New Orleans. If I am remembering this correctly, Mayor Nagin was one of the ones accused of doing it.

Tommy, I hope not!
Part of this at least is partisan concern. New Orleans tends very Democratic; the rest of Louisiana tends Republican.

If many New Orleans residents decide to settle elsewhere, Louisiana will likely shift more Republican. While the dispersed residents won't change the political composition of their new homes as much, since there'll be fewer of them in any particular place (and many will likely stay in Texas, already heavily Republican).
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