Skip to comments.City to open shelter if FEMA asserts hotel deadline
Posted on 02/05/2006 11:31:40 AM PST by Ellesu
LAKE CHARLES, La. -- The city of Lake Charles will open the Civic Center as an emergency shelter if the Federal Emergency Management Agency puts out hundreds of Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims from area hotels and motels by a Feb. 13 deadline.
FEMA extended the deadline for evacuees to be out of their rooms by six days, from Feb. 7 to Feb. 13. Those who wanted to remain after Feb. 7 had to call FEMA by Jan. 30 to receive an authorization code that would extend their stay.
FEMA has said it won't pay for rooms after Feb. 13.
City administrator Paul Rainwater told the American Press last week that the city would not allow evacuees to be put out of local motels and be left homeless.
"If we see a need, we are going to open up shelters. We are not going to let people sit out on the streets," he said.
"During Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we have acted and responded regardless of what the feds or the state were going to do. We will continue that aggressive response to people's needs."
People in hotels or motels who find they must leave by the deadline should call City Hall if they have no place to stay, Rainwater said. "Once we start getting calls we will put together a needs list, and we will make a request to the American Red Cross like we have done before."
The city has asked top FEMA officials to extend the deadline so some of local apartment complexes being repaired can be completed to help alleviate the area's current housing shortage, Rainwater said.
"We have made it clear to them that they (FEMA) need to give us until April," he said. "We are hopeful that some of the apartment complexes will come back online, so they have to extend the hotel assistance at least through April, if not a little bit further."
Mayor Randy Roach has asked FEMA several times to let evacuees stay in hotels and motels until more permanent housing can be found but to no avail, Rainwater said.
Mary Breaux, of Lake Charles, said Thursday that she is being evicted from her apartment next week. She has until Feb. 10 to relocate.
"I don't know what I'm going to do. I have called all over, and there is no place for me to go. There are no apartments or hotel rooms," she said. "The worst thing of all is that I know I'm not the only one who is going through this. There are a lot more like me who are being evicted and will be homeless."
Breaux said she is on the list for a FEMA trailer at a new trailer park under construction. But it will be the end of February or early March before anyone can move in, Rainwater said.
FEMA reported last Wednesday that evacuees in Louisiana occupy 10,708 rooms in 501 hotels or motels statewide. Since Hurricane Katrina made landfall last August, FEMA has paid more than $522 million for hotel and motel rooms as part of the more than $6 billion in financial and housing assistance provided to nearly 1.5 million victims.
Editors Note: Those who must leave hotels or motels by Feb. 13 and have no alternative housing can contact Lake Charles City Hall at 337-491-1200.
Wonder how many will finally go back to work once the free housing plays out?
Puts out??? Those whiners should have been out ages ago. Sitting around hotel rooms living off the taxpayers should have gotten them kicked out on their rears a long time ago. And I'd be writing the newspaper complaining I'd vote for no current city commissioner or mayor if the city continued to house those low lifes.
If free housing is provided forever, there's little doubt that free housing will be used forever.
It's amazing these people haven't made an effort to find permanent housing after all this time!
It would violate their Constitutional Right to Room Service.
It's about time the local govt did something instead of relying on the Feds to babysit them.
We're STILL paying for these people? When/where does it end?
But were used to Gov. handouts,we don't want to change.
Send in the heliocopters and airlift them out, as we did in September. That worked.
Well, at least now the hotel owners can finally start cleaning and repairing their hotels that have no doubt been trashed.
Wonder if the government will pay for that too.
I live here. There is no available housing at the moment. Most of the apartment complexes were severely damaged. It's just taking time to get them finished.
I have family members living with me now who lost their homes. My cousin owns an RV park and let's just say that he is really happy right now because he has a waiting list of over 100. Several buildings were severely damaged from the storm so he just plowed them down to put more spaces. There's about 200 right now. That's not counting the trailer park he also owns with as many fema trailers as he can legally put there.
Most of the people in Lake Charles are tax paying contributing members of society. It's not New Orleans. Randy Roach is an excellent leader and has done a phenomenal job before, during and after Rita.
Lake Charles had a rainy day fund from the gambling industry that has allowed them to stay solvent even with the huge hit in the economy. We are not completely recovered. We are well on our way but the lack of housing is the critical kink in people getting back on track.
My neighbor had to bulldoze his house. He's not alone.
Lake Charles is not New Orleans. Most of the people here are hardworking, tax paying, conservative people. The problem is that a major metropolitan area was severely damaged from Katrina then three weeks later another highly populated area was severely damaged from Rita and there is simply a severe housing shortage.
The only thing they have to compare it to is tornadoes, or (for an imaginative few) maybe the hurricanes that hit Florida and tear up a lot of roofs.
One of the things I found most gratifying about Katrina was that the news personalities from Fox who actually went there, got it. You could see it in their faces.
From that, I infer that most decent people, if they were actually confronted with the facts, would get it, too.
What we have here, on the attack, are the outliers, mostly, the antisocial and the sociopaths who use the Internet as a way of channeling their vitriol. Most Freepers aren't like that, but they don't like to confront the loonies so they just get out of the way.