When did FEMA become a welfare agency? I understand that Katrina and Rita were horrible storms that destroyed a number of peoples lives. FEMA’s response was even more horrible, as was the reaction to Rita in Texas. I completely understand the need to help people get back on their feet again. You can’t lose everything you have and just hop back up and get going again. However, most of the people who lost everything have recovered. They have been strong and have gotten back on their feet. They may not be back all the way, but they are trying. They are great models of what people should do.
Then there are the people going the other direction. Thousands of people are still getting aid and housing from FEMA. In some cases they seem to be making little effort to get going again. Some of this is FEMA’s fault. There seems to be little plan for when to stop aid, or how. Politics seems to play a much larger part in it all than common sense. People have to have a reason to leave, but at the same time we need to make sure they have a chance to survive.
Today it was announced that there would be an extension of the housing payments until 2009. That’s 4 years afterward Katrina. This just seems ridiculous. With no penalties, requirements, no payment or anything people will be able to get free housing paid for by tax payers until March 2008, at which point they will have to start making minute payments. That’s just ridiculous. If you haven’t’ been able to find a job in the nearly 2 years since the storm it is time to start looking elsewhere. If you still can’t find a job then we have a welfare system, which is in itself a whole other set of problems. Regardless, as it is FEMA is “not in the long-term housing business”, just like Administrator David Paulison said. And realistically, the Department of Housing and Urban Development shouldn’t be in this type of housing business either.