FEMA IS A FOUR LETTER WORD
View From The Street
I've been working in the homeless business now for six years, as the day to day manager of a 91 bed men's shelter. WE ARE ALWAYS FULL! There is a waiting list of about 150 men, men sleeping in the bushes, on loading docks or sleeping on someones couch if they are lucky. I live with the homeless agony every working day. I think I can speak with authority on the homeless disaster surrounding us.
Just whose fault is homelessness anyway? There are a lot of factors, but basically it is the government's fault. In many ways, the government enforces poverty. For instance: A social security disability recipient receives about $580.00 a month in cash. In this town...the average rent on a one bedroom apartment is $500.00 plus! Just what are they to do with the remaining fifty or sixty bucks, blow it on food, blow it on heat or a bottle of whiskey to numb the mind? Alcohol often seems to be the only answer to hopelessness.
It is also government enforced humiliation. For now the homeless must stand in lines...lines for food stamps, lines for housing vouchers, lines for clothing, lines to take a shower!!
We have all seen the Katrina homeless waiting for government assistance, waiting for help. Waiting for FEMA to put up a tent, waiting for a FEMA trailer, waiting for medicine.
FEMA has become the largest single provider of homeless shelters with their tents and trailers and vouchers for hotel rooms. And FEMA has become the new four letter word. Like here...wipe your FEMA on this! Why? Because they are government, they never act fast enough, and they frustrate and destroy human dignity. That's why. How many FEMA cities will we have? How long will these "temporary" trailer cities exist? I don't know but Columbia Villa, right here in Portland Oregon was built during the war as temporary housing as was the University housing project in North Portland. University lasted about 50 years before they turned most of it into a hi way. Columbia Villa lasted 70 years.
I ask you again how long will the tent cities and FEMA trailer cities, this "temporary" housing last? Columbia Villa became a ghetto where mostly poor and black people lived. I know because I was a street cop in those days and Columbia Villa was often in my patrol district. How long before the FEMA cities become the new ghettos?
What is driving this disaster is more than 100,000 homes and business's in New Orleans are gone forever. The power company is bankrupt. Only one school is open. 350,000 automobiles were destroyed. Most of them are still where the storm left them. That means that 100,000 families that used to pay taxes on those homes and businesses are no longer revenue producers, but have become revenue takers. They are the ones in the lines waiting and waiting. The government once said it expected 200 billion to reach New Orleans, but the money has stalled at about 70 billion. People are angry, disillusioned, indignant and insulted. And black people are the most indignant of all!
And now the final insult to these newly homeless is that no jurisdiction really wants them. "We can't afford more people on the welfare roll. We can't afford more people needing medical care." No one wants the homeless of about a half a million from all over the South. A half a million newly homeless have become the new lepers! And ask any of the 3000 homeless here in Portland if they are not treated as lepers. We build a Street of Dreams here, homes for the wealthy, and allow 3000 homeless humans sleep in the streets! SHAME ON US!
You not only lose your possessions and your dignity when you become homeless, you can lose your rights as Americans too. The FEMA cities have tried to make it so that folks that live there can not own a firearm. "Can't trust those poor folks with guns." Too much crime in those FEMA cities. Why? Again, crime is almost forced on them by the government. When people have no money, which is why there in a FEMA city in the first place, they sell cocaine, heroin, their pills their take out doses of Methadone...their bodies.
The solution to homelessness is to give people a livable income, say $2500.00 a month. Then people could afford their own housing and their own groceries and their own medicine and the government could get out of the homeless business and people could have their dignity back.
70 billion already sent to New Orleans...that's a lot of decent monthly incomes