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Katrina & Rita victims continue to get aid

Post Katrina Post Rita Aid 2007

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#1 Mel

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 11:46 AM

I know FEMA's immediate response was lousy, but aren't they overcompensating a bit here.  How long should we support hurricane victims after a storm???

Quote

Federal housing assistance for more than 120,000 families displaced by Gulf Coast hurricanes in 2005 will continue through March 1, 2009, officials announced today.

According to the article I read this extension will cost more than $1 billion dollars.  I realize that's not huge compared to what we're spending in other areas, but still.  Emergency aid should be temporary to help someone get back on their feet.   Should taxpayers be paying for people's housing for 3 1/2 years after a storm?

#2 Zwolf

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 11:59 AM

All I can tell ya is, everything is still torn to hell down there.  Florida is also still a big mess, and that was from Ivan... a year before Katrina.   The extent of the devastation down there was really unbelievable and widespread.

My cousins just managed to get back into their house last week, and it's still not finished... they just were able to put a few things back in.  And they're multi-millionaires who are colse personal friends with Trent Lott, so if they were in that kinda shape, you can imagine how bad off everybody else is.   And Louisiana's even worse off than Miss'ippi.

The place is so trashed that they literally can't get enough labor.  My cousins had a contractor who had to cycle his workers (most of 'em Mexican illegals; it's funny how my uber-Republican cousins happily accepted that when it was convenient to 'em! :) ) through several houses.  They might get work done on their house once a week or so, and then the crew would have to go work on a different house and appease that owner for a day.  They're really spread thin down there.

Cheers,

Zwolf
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#3 Mel

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 12:26 PM

View PostZwolf, on Apr 26 2007, 11:59 AM, said:

All I can tell ya is, everything is still torn to hell down there.  Florida is also still a big mess, and that was from Ivan... a year before Katrina.   The extent of the devastation down there was really unbelievable and widespread.

My cousins just managed to get back into their house last week, and it's still not finished... they just were able to put a few things back in.  And they're multi-millionaires who are colse personal friends with Trent Lott, so if they were in that kinda shape, you can imagine how bad off everybody else is.   And Louisiana's even worse off than Miss'ippi.

The place is so trashed that they literally can't get enough labor.  My cousins had a contractor who had to cycle his workers (most of 'em Mexican illegals; it's funny how my uber-Republican cousins happily accepted that when it was convenient to 'em! :) ) through several houses.  They might get work done on their house once a week or so, and then the crew would have to go work on a different house and appease that owner for a day.  They're really spread thin down there.

Cheers,

Zwolf

I realize there's a huge labor problem.  My mom and most my family live just an hour or so north of New Orleans.  They have a FEMA trailer park about a quarter mile from their neighborhood.  My mom has gardening friends in both Texas (Rita) and Mississippi that had homes badly damaged and they either are still or until recently were living in their yard in a trailer because they couldn't get contractors/laborers.  Even in Baton Rouge, my cousins are just finishing up the interior work after the tree went through their house during Katrina.

But, I still don't get why the government has to pay for all these people to live, particularly the thousands in Houston, who have presumably relocated.  Non-homeowners shouldn't have a problem paying for their own housing, since if their previous home was destroyed they are no longer on the hook for rent payments.  Homeowners should have had insurance which usually has provisions for paying for living expenses when you can't live at home because of damage--though now that I look at my policy it's entirely possible some homeowners could have run up against maximums.  (Plus I only have my basic homeowner's policy in front of my as my flood and windstorm policies--the more applicable ones aren't available online.)  

I know there have been insurance issues, particularly with people who didn't pay for flood insurance and then wanted their insurers to pay anyway.  So are all these people homeowners who either didn't have insurance or who are still in fights with their insurance companies?  Because the article makes it seem like these are people the government has been supporting since the disaster, not people who have run out of insurance coverage for loss of use of their home.

#4 Spectacles

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 01:00 PM

Found more details here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10533051/
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#5 Spectacles

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 01:06 PM

And a bit more about insurers and Katrina victims is here:

http://www.newsday.c...-business-print

Nationwide and State Farm both have been sued for denying claims on the grounds that coverage was for wind but not flood damage. In short, some insurers exploited a loophole that allowed them to deny coverage if a house flattened or damaged by wind was water damaged, too.  

Even Trent Lott sued State Farm:

http://www.consumera...trina_lott.html

Edited by Spectacles, 26 April 2007 - 01:08 PM.

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"Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing." -- Paul Krugman

#6 Mel

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 01:56 PM

I tend to agree with this guy.

Quote

“The more aid people feel they're going to get after a disaster, the more disincentive there is to buy insurance. Why buy it if you can get it retroactively?” Hartwig said.

The same disincentive, he said, comes from lawsuits currently being filed by people who did not have flood insurance but are suing insurers, arguing that insurance should cover the water damage from a wind-driven storm surge. If successful, Hartwig believes government aid and suing will be seen as alternatives to purchasing flood insurance.

People who live on the Gulf Coast even if they're pretty far inland should have flood insurance even if the federal government says they don't have to.  If they're outside the flood plains, it's really cheap.  My mom's house is worth 2X+ what mine is.  She pays like a fourth of what I pay/year for flood insurance because she's technically outside the flood plains (for river flooding I think) by like less than a mile and I live on a glorified sandbar.  

This seems like a way for people to duck personal responsibility.  They didn't want to pay the few hundred bucks--few thousand (depending on flood plain or not & house value) a year it would cost  to buy the necessary flood insurance and now they expect someone else to bail them out.  Insurances account for ~35-40% of my monthly mortgage payment.  If I couldn't afford them I wouldn't have bought a house.

Even if you don't live on the coast, there's river flooding, flash flooding, etc--none of which is covered by homeowners.  Unless I move to the Sahara at some point, I plan to maintain flood insurance wherever I live.

#7 Zwolf

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 04:01 PM

Quote

But, I still don't get why the government has to pay for all these people to live, particularly the thousands in Houston, who have presumably relocated. Non-homeowners shouldn't have a problem paying for their own housing, since if their previous home was destroyed they are no longer on the hook for rent payments.

No argument there.  If somebody's re-settled, then they don't need more aid.

The flood insurance thing is tricky.  Insurance companies will try to scam you on that.  My parents had a house in Pensacola Beach that was totalled out by Ivan.  They had wind insurance and flood insurance... and the insurance company tried to cheat them (and just about everybody else on the island) out of paying off on any of the flood insurance by claiming "we already paid the wind damage, and all that flood water was driven by winds!"  That didn't work out too well for the insurance company, because it didn't hold up.

Cheers,

Zwolf
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And I'll feel even better
When your life has nothing to do with mine."
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"There are things that I'd like to say
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There's things I'd like to phrase some way
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'd put you down where you belong
But I'm never talking to you again
I'd show you everywhere you're wrong
But I'm never talking to you again

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you

I'm never talking to you again
I'm never talking to you
I'm tired of wasting all my time
Trying to talk to you."
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#8 RobL

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 09:48 PM

View PostZwolf, on Apr 26 2007, 01:01 PM, said:

Insurance companies will try to scam you on that.

Being a veteran of the 94 Northridge quake, I can verfiy that. Hell, we STILL have empty lots down here from that, even with land values shooting up. And I'm still paying a $50 or so payment with my HOA fees to pay for the earthquake repair bill on my townhome. (Which I didn't even own at the time, obviously)

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#9 Cait

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 10:11 PM

Speaking of Katrina... How can something like this happen.  

Washington Post

Quote

After Katrina, U.S. Did Not Accept Most Offers of Aid

By John Solomon and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, April 29, 2007; Page A01

*snip*

Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to private groups such as the Red Cross. The rest has been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent.

In addition, valuable supplies and services -- such as cellphone systems, medicine and cruise ships -- were delayed or declined because the government could not handle them. In some cases, supplies were wasted.

The struggle to apply foreign aid in the aftermath of the hurricane, which has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $125 billion so far, is another reminder of the federal government's difficulty leading the recovery. Reports of government waste and delays or denials of assistance have surfaced repeatedly since hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005.

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Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
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#10 Lin731

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 10:35 PM

Quote

People who live on the Gulf Coast even if they're pretty far inland should have flood insurance even if the federal government says they don't have to. If they're outside the flood plains, it's really cheap. My mom's house is worth 2X+ what mine is. She pays like a fourth of what I pay/year for flood insurance because she's technically outside the flood plains (for river flooding I think) by like less than a mile and I live on a glorified sandbar.

Many of them did have flood insurance or hurricane/wind damage insurance. Wherever possible though, the insurance company would attribute all the damage to whichever coverage they DIDN'T have. One couple pointed to a peice of their siding stuck wayyyyyyy up in a tree and told how the insurance company claimed it was from flood surges. You could see the waterline on the side of their home and trust me when I say, it wasn't anywhere remotely close to that. The siding was stuck in a tree about 12 feet above the roofline of the house. The insurance companies are jacking them up, playing this game of "Whatever coverage you don't have, that's what caused the damage.
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#11 FnlPrblm

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 11:06 PM

View PostCait, on Apr 28 2007, 10:11 PM, said:

Speaking of Katrina... How can something like this happen.  

Washington Post

Quote

After Katrina, U.S. Did Not Accept Most Offers of Aid

By John Solomon and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, April 29, 2007; Page A01

*snip*

Allies offered $854 million in cash and in oil that was to be sold for cash. But only $40 million has been used so far for disaster victims or reconstruction, according to U.S. officials and contractors. Most of the aid went uncollected, including $400 million worth of oil. Some offers were withdrawn or redirected to private groups such as the Red Cross. The rest has been delayed by red tape and bureaucratic limits on how it can be spent.

In addition, valuable supplies and services -- such as cellphone systems, medicine and cruise ships -- were delayed or declined because the government could not handle them. In some cases, supplies were wasted.

The struggle to apply foreign aid in the aftermath of the hurricane, which has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $125 billion so far, is another reminder of the federal government's difficulty leading the recovery. Reports of government waste and delays or denials of assistance have surfaced repeatedly since hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck in 2005.

I know what you mean Cait and I've found myself wondering this too at various times.  However, the oil was probably witheld so it wouldn't decrease oil prices in the U.S.  Same thing with the cash, but with slightly better reasons.  The dollar is very weak (at this time and it wasn't all that much better back when Katrina hit).  So by dumping a lot of cash (even though overall it's a trickle in the GDP) in the U.S. market, it weakens it even further.  I'm sure there are also political agendas, favor loaning...so on.
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#12 RobL

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 11:22 PM

I had heard that the oil was from Venezuela, and there was a general consensus that we didn't want to owe that kook Chavez any favors...

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#13 Cait

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 11:31 PM

View PostFnlPrblm, on Apr 28 2007, 09:06 PM, said:

I know what you mean Cait and I've found myself wondering this too at various times.  However, the oil was probably withheld so it wouldn't decrease oil prices in the U.S.  Same thing with the cash, but with slightly better reasons.  The dollar is very weak (at this time and it wasn't all that much better back when Katrina hit).  So by dumping a lot of cash (even though overall it's a trickle in the GDP) in the U.S. market, it weakens it even further.  I'm sure there are also political agendas, favor loaning...so on.

But, taxpayer money is/was used. That money flowed into the economy.   And what it really implies is that it is OK to keep people homeless and poor in order to protect the dollar.  I'm not saying the dollar doesn't need to be protected, I'm just saying this was a lousy place and manner with which to do it.  You know what I mean.  It's a PR nightmare in fact.

I understand the economic problems, and I even understand the possible hidden obligation to nations offering aid, but it makes no sense, to use taxpayer money, and hold back donated money that has already been accepted.  

The news reports how much taxpayer money it is taking to re-build and help Katrina/Rita victims, except we also see that rebuilding is slow, and then we find out that millions were given in aide and even more rejected.  

And still there are people having to practically beg for help, and Insurance companies denying claims, ext.  Some of those allies ended up donating to the Red Cross and the Bush/Clinton Katina Fund, so it must not be too much of an economic problem.

I can also understand the oil.  That does make sense, but the other aid.. no it doesn't make sense at all.  Just like watching those people waiting for some water for days didn't make sense.  It's like these agencies are being run by a room full of monkeys.  That's how bad the management is.  I'm an executive, this is just outrageous.  

The quote from Karen Hughes, it was stupid.  You either tell allies we don't need it or you accept it.  You  don't accept it and then waste it or not use it.  They're politicians they can understand all the reasons you cited.  Hell I understand them.  But this bunch, just didn't handle it with the allies, donor nations or the public.  It's just plain bad management.

There might be good reasons, but you damn well explain those reasons, so people don't ultimately find out that you denied them help.  Because in the end, that's all people will see.  They won't give a damn that the value of the dollar was threatened.  

It's called diplomacy and PR, an integral part of good management.

Every time I think it can't get any worse, it does.

And [dare I ask] just where is the 500+ billion dollars sitting?

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#14 Cait

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 11:33 PM

Jeeze, that sounded like I was yelling at FnlPrblm, I wasn't.  I guess I let too much frustration show.  It wasn't anything personal.  :)

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#15 Cait

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Posted 28 April 2007 - 11:36 PM

View PostRobL, on Apr 28 2007, 09:22 PM, said:

I had heard that the oil was from Venezuela, and there was a general consensus that we didn't want to owe that kook Chavez any favors...

Well, the oil I understand even from a purely economic rational, and the offer of oil, was in case our own production was interrupted.  So we don't need the oil, the problems caused by dumping that much oil into the economy or the obligation to a donor nation.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#16 RobL

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 08:15 AM

Cait said:

It's like these agencies are being run by a room full of monkeys.

In my experience, generally that's true. And the higher up you go, the worse it gets.

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#17 Cait

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 12:01 PM

One more reason to take my Libertarian a$$ and my guns and go live on a mountain top.

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html




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