Sunday, February 12, 2006

Et Tu Fema

I just overheard a local news story about FEMA stopping payments for housing of Katrina victims tomorrow. (See, e.g., here.) Specifically the story detailed how people have moved to the Bay Area with little more than the clothes on their back and now they are about to be thrown to the streets. Call me an archconservative Hitler-worshipping sadist if you want, but at THIS point, I just can't fathom why these people are still in hotels IN THE BAY AREA. I understand there's no economy or infrastructure of any sorts in New Orleans, but why haven't they found jobs and housing here? Is there any point where it's ok for a liberal to feel that the government has no business in helping people? I don't mean to be snide about this, but I ask because I'm very much personally conflicted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the 2d quarter of 2004 the average rent for an apt in Alameda county was $1204/mo. Imagine you just moved here post-katrina and could only find apts at that rent and had to come up with first, last, and some amount of security deposit. And, on top of that, you had to furnish the place, all while trying to find a job.

Makes staying in a hotel/motel a hell of a lot more reasonable, no?

2/13/2006 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to mention that many landlords here, if not most, require a 1-year lease. Not an attractive proposition, if what you're really hoping to do is go home (to whatever is left of it).

Stepping back, Armen, let's review:
1) These people were forced to flee their homes under incredibly adverse conditions, conditions which more competent emergency management could have largely mitigated.
2) These people were promised a heap of aid and assistance (financial and otherwise), much of which was handed out in the form corporate handouts (to the hotel industry, for example) rather than to individuals directly affected.
3) That aid that was promised has been late in coming.

Many of these folks probably never looked for a job or permanent housing because they had no intention of staying in the Bay Area longer than necessary. Let's not blame the victims here.

2/13/2006 10:13 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

No! It makes staying at the hotel cheaper and more convenient, but not more reasonable. It's been almost 6 months, now I'm not saying everyone can find a job in 6 months, rebuild a home, find loved ones, and be Mary Fucking Poppins, but still, this should not be the big deal that it is. Also as far as the rent figure is concerned, mind if I ask you how much you're paying for rent?

2/13/2006 10:14 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

See, that second post is what I was getting at. You're blanketly asserting that we shouldn't blame the victims. I am mindful of the promised aid and the perception that their stay in the Bay Area is very temporary. And mind you, I'm not trying to give the feds or anyone else a free pass here. But stepping back, why would promises of aid keep someone from trying to better his situation? What was expected? Enough grants to support each effected family until NO is rebuilt?

But there is a psychological element to my post as well. I had the same reaction you did the first time around when FEMA buckled under pressure and extended the deadlines. Clearly at some point it becomes appropriate to quesiton the victims, or does it if you're a good liberal?

2/13/2006 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am anonymous 10:13, and I assure you, my comments have nothing to do with being a liberal, or a good liberal, as I am neither.

I am simply inclined that when the federal gummint makes a promise to a discrete group to act (i.e. provide housing until the feds say it is ok to return to their homes), it it wholly reasonable for that group to rely on that promise and not to begin mitigating. I agree with you completely that the handouts should not be indefinite. In fact, I have no real problem with cutting them off now. But I still would resist retroactive condemnation of the victims for their failure to mitigate where the feds inability to manage post-Katrina was a huge contributing factor for that failure.

2/13/2006 1:12 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

I agree with you.

2/13/2006 2:01 PM  

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