Archive for March, 2009

Storm loan forgiveness proposed

March 31, 2009

WASHINGTON — Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, acting on her recent trip to the Gulf Coast, on Monday proposed $1.27 billion in post-Katrina and Rita community disaster loans be forgiven.

“Tremendous progress has been made to help the Gulf Coast region recover, but it is abundantly clear that communities are struggling to meet the challenges faced by the economy and the remaining challenges posed by hurricanes Rita and Katrina,” said Napolitano.

The former Arizona governor is asking for comments on an amendment to FEMA’s Special Community Disaster Loan regulations to include loan-forgiveness procedures and requirements. FEMA is part of DHS. The proposed regulation would enable communities to apply for loan cancellations.

“We look forward to hearing feedback on this proposal in order to maintain essential municipal services following hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” said Napolitano. “With this effort, we are closer to helping our Gulf Coast communities rebuild, recover and get back on their feet.”

Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Bay St. Louis, said, “I know that several of our cities, counties and school districts are still far below the revenues they had before the storm. They desperately need to have their loans forgiven. I thank Secretary Napolitano for taking this action and I am especially grateful to House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn for making Katrina loan forgiveness a priority when the Democrats took control of Congress in 2007.”

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who has been highly critical of FEMA, said, “The federal government enacted a double standard when it prohibited Katrina and Rita–affected areas along the Gulf Coast from being eligible for Community Disaster Loan forgiveness.

“FEMA failed to correct this mistake under the previous administration for nearly two years. I commend Secretary Napolitano and the new administration for addressing special CDL forgiveness right out of the gate.”

The proposed regulation allows forgiveness of all or part of a special Community Disaster Loan if a local government’s revenues following a disaster are insufficient to meet its operating budget.

FEMA is seeking comments from government officials and the public on the proposed forgiveness procedures. Submit comments under docket ID FEMA-2005-0051 at regulations.gov. Comments may also be submitted to FEMA-RULES@dhs.gov or by mail to FEMA’s Office of Chief Counsel, Room 835, 500 C Street SW, Washington DC 20472.

FEMA trailer – one mother, six boys, no maintenance till late 2008

March 31, 2009

Meeting held yesterday in Hancock county to discuss the status of recovery and issues out in the field. This field picture was taken in Waveland.

Myrtis Franke – District Office Director Senator Thad Cochran’s office,Laurie Spaschak LESM, Marsha Meeks Kelly – Missisippi Center for Volunteerism, Charles Piazza – Alderman Waveland and resident discuss recovery and status of FEMA trailer that had been “lost” by FEMA in the system and had received no maintenance till late 2008. (Not pictured but at this meeting was Lou Rizzardi-Pass Christina Alderman, David Yarborough – Hancock County Supervisor.)

All comments supplied by resident in trailer

March 31, 2009

FEMA installed air conditioner. Installed after roof air conditioner failed. Cardboard and duct tape provided by FEMA maintenance.

March 31, 2009

Defunct ceiling air conditioner that FEMA tried to fix. Wires coming from this are “live”.

Fridge and stove have not worked in two years.

March 31, 2009

These wires are coming out of the wall in the bedroom. This happened when the cabinet over the bed came down a couple of years ago.

All the plug ins look like this – the two that remain working. And they only work when it is not raining. When it rains the sockets get so hot you can not touch them.

March 31, 2009

When then FEMA tree contractors cut a tree down – it came thru the window of the trailer. She patched it up with duct tape and glue. FEMA ignored the problem while they were there “installing” the air conditioner. There has been no follow up maintenance or an attempt to replace the trailer. Resident was promised a MEMA cottage – that never happened.

This client is having trouble getting an appointment with Section 8 – Bay Waveland. A victim again of a system where there is not enough staffing to deal with the volume of residents applying for assistance. Appointments as as far out as June of 2009. Because of issues with the health of the boys – the mother needs to continue to live adjacent to her parents home which has nixed plans to try and place her in a hotel in the interim because of lack of transportation to get boys back and forth to parents for daycare.

This case clearly indicates the critical need for continuity and quality Case Management in the field. The case is a clear example of residents that fall between the cracks who do not have the ability to deal with the “system”.

Good bye to a very long term volunteer

March 31, 2009

LuAnne has ended her tenure here and headed for a new life in Georgia. After almost 3.5 years of continuing volunteering – I am in awe of this woman. A retired Microsoft employee – she has contributed an enormous chunk to the recovery equation here siding homes all over Hancock County and over in Slidell.

Recovery status – an oxymoron in terms

March 31, 2009

Where is the affordable housing grant that has been promised for going on two years? Still not here – Hancock Housing Center keeps relaying that story. Also seems to be a tone that “they” are going to be taking care of the rest of the recovery out of “their” office.  So, what are the “Coordination Meetings” about? Just how many houses did the Hancock Housing Center rebuild in going on four years? Or claim to have “built” although the building was actually done by the hard working non profits not getting their due acknowledgment of actually who did the work in the field or the number of houses these hard working non profits have contributed to the recovery equation – thousands of homes compared to the 120 “claimed” by the anointed recovery office. Something is very wrong with this picture. There is to be a high level meeting in Hancock County tomorrow to discuss the state of recovery.

March 29, 2009

LISA MONTI/SUN HERALDTree carving by Marvin Miller at Miss. 603 and U.S. 90 in Waveland.–

March 29, 2009

Submitted by Chris Smith Flooding on Pompano Street in Waveland