Where is Liddy on Katrina Recovery?

Elizabeth Dole's inaction on a key housing bill is worsening skyrocketing homelessness problem.

Today, victims of Hurricane Katrina and local advocates held a press conference at Sen. Elizabeth Dole's office in Raleigh calling on the Senator to take action to save homes in the still-devastated Gulf Coast region.

Homelessness in New Orleans has doubled since Katrina struck in August 2005, according to recent reports, and thousands of families still live in temporary FEMA housing. Yet despite a housing shortage, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has authorized the demolition of more than 4,000 units of public housing in New Orleans – most of it barely damaged by Katrina. The homes are slated to be razed this week, without provisions for replacing them with affordable units.

At the same time, Congressional legislation to help homeowners, renters and public housing residents hurt by Katrina – the Gulf Coast Housing Recovery Act (S 1668) – has languished for months in the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, on which Sen. Dole sits. A bill with the same name (HR 1227) passed overwhelmingly in the House by a vote of 302-125 in March.

"I am asking Senators to find it in their heart and good conscience to support the public housing community in New Orleans and affordable housing for those renters displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita by allowing S 1668 to move forward," said Nana Nantambu, a displaced New Orleans resident now living in North Carolina.

"When Katrina hit, Washington leaders pledged to do what it takes and stay as long as it takes, to rebuild the Gulf Coast," said Chris Kromm, director of the Durham-based Institute for Southern Studies, which has closely monitored the Katrina recovery. "This holiday season, with thousands of Gulf families on the streets or in cramped FEMA trailers, Sen. Dole and others in the Senate must take action and make good on their promises."

Demonstrations are taking place across the country today – International Human Rights Day – calling on Washington leaders to take action for Katrina families.

For more information on the issue of housing in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast after Katrina, visit the Institute's Gulf Watch project: http://www.southernstudies.org/gulfwatch

Comments

Dole doesn't care

There's no real money in NOLA for the Republican coffers. They don't give a sh*t.

Now if it's WAR you're talking about, well that's a different kettle of stinky fish.

on the other hand...

...a developer who was willing to quickly move in where the 4000 houses were would make a great republican donor...and the future residents could become republican donors as well, if the new housing is expensive enough.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Glad you highlighted that comment by McIntyre

I thought it was an excellent point.

Dole really isn't there. I have a hard time imagining how she spends her day. She got dragged kicking and resisting all the way into OLF. Lord knows how many polls she needed before she became convinced that it would be in her interest to join the opposition.

She's just not there, not for national concerns or local.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Tough call

It was lousy, outdated, long-proven-counterproductive housing policy that contributed to making the disaster in New Orleans as bad as it was. I think policy decisions like this one (tearing down massive 1,000-unit "projects") are not as clear cut as they may seem.

You can rennovate the "projects" to address short-term housing shortages, but then you've spent many millions and are probably ensuring the concentration of poverty continues for many more years. It is very important to note that the government is not building housing projects any more. It may not be obvious to some, but the government does a lousy job building and running low-income housing. Current trends include more focus on vouchers, which can be used in many different ways, and more importantly public-private partnerships.

Current best practices integrate neighborhoods. They don't herd up all the poor people and put them in almost escape-proof cages (projects). Be it through vouchers that allow people housing choice or through tax-credit financing arrangements between developers and the government, nobody does "projects" any more.

If we are going to spend all this money "rebuilding" New Orleans, I sure hope we do a better job this time and repeat as few mistakes as possible. This goes for bad housing policy or building a city below sea level.

the problem is...

...how do you disburse section 8 clients in neighborhoods that don't exist?

until nola is more substantially rebuilt, it will be almost impossible to use vouchers; and the best idea for now might be to keep the housing in place until the clients can be relocated--as opposed to tearing down the housing and then placing the clients somewhere.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965