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City to open shelter if FEMA asserts hotel deadline
katc.com ^ | 02/05/06 | katc

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.

___


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government; US: Louisiana
KEYWORDS: evacuees; fema; govtteat; katrina; rita; shelter

1 posted on 02/05/2006 11:31:44 AM PST by Ellesu
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To: Ellesu

Wonder how many will finally go back to work once the free housing plays out?


2 posted on 02/05/2006 11:33:45 AM PST by angelsonmyside
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To: Ellesu
if the Federal Emergency Management Agency puts out hundreds

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.

3 posted on 02/05/2006 11:36:39 AM PST by mtbopfuyn (Legality does not dictate morality... Lavin)
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To: angelsonmyside

If free housing is provided forever, there's little doubt that free housing will be used forever.


4 posted on 02/05/2006 11:37:12 AM PST by Dog Gone
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To: Ellesu

It's amazing these people haven't made an effort to find permanent housing after all this time!


5 posted on 02/05/2006 12:02:37 PM PST by Retired Chemist
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To: Ellesu
I don't think it would be right to move people into trailers.

It would violate their Constitutional Right to Room Service.

6 posted on 02/05/2006 12:03:32 PM PST by Mark was here (How can they be called "Homeless" if their home is a field?.)
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To: Ellesu

It's about time the local govt did something instead of relying on the Feds to babysit them.


7 posted on 02/05/2006 12:12:11 PM PST by frankjr
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To: Ellesu
While I applaud the mayor of Lake Charles for his take-charge, caring actions, the snark in me wants to know:

How have all the evacuees affected the city's finances? I suspect an upsurge in the local economy. I would hate to know that the mayor is just trying to prop up the local economy.

If there are no homes to be had in Lake Charles, surely the evacuees could find housing somewhere else. I can understand them wanting to stay close to home, but having to depend on a govt agency to tell you how long you can stay at a certain place seems rather a)Orwellian or b)Somebody take care of me!

Wanna bet that if the FEMA deadline is imposed and the evacuees have no local choice besides the Civic Center, they'll pick up stakes and move on to the next, better accommodated, city?

When, exactly, did these people give their lives over to the govt? Has it really been 4 months since the hurricanes? Good Gawd, people, either go home or make your own darn home!
8 posted on 02/05/2006 12:26:48 PM PST by blu (People, for God's sake, think for yourselves!)
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To: Ellesu
While I applaud the mayor of Lake Charles for his take-charge, caring actions, the snark in me wants to know:

How have all the evacuees affected the city's finances? I suspect an upsurge in the local economy. I would hate to know that the mayor is just trying to prop up the local economy.

If there are no homes to be had in Lake Charles, surely the evacuees could find housing somewhere else. I can understand them wanting to stay close to home, but having to depend on a govt agency to tell you how long you can stay at a certain place seems rather a)Orwellian or b)Somebody take care of me!

Wanna bet that if the FEMA deadline is imposed and the evacuees have no local choice besides the Civic Center, they'll pick up stakes and move on to the next, better accommodated, city?

When, exactly, did these people give their lives over to the govt? Has it really been 4 months since the hurricanes? Good Gawd, people, either go home or make your own darn home!
9 posted on 02/05/2006 12:26:48 PM PST by blu (People, for God's sake, think for yourselves!)
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To: blu
*buurrrp 'Scuse me!
10 posted on 02/05/2006 12:28:17 PM PST by blu (People, for God's sake, think for yourselves!)
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To: Ellesu


We're STILL paying for these people? When/where does it end?


11 posted on 02/05/2006 12:43:21 PM PST by rockabyebaby (I'm not afraid to say out loud what the rest of you are afraid to admit.)
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To: Ellesu
I'm sure the "good citizens" that have been hunkered down in hotels for the past several months - have expressed great gratitude for the generosities extended them, and have done everything within their ability to become a little more selfsufficient...

< /sarcasm>

Semper Fi

12 posted on 02/05/2006 12:43:45 PM PST by river rat (You may turn the other cheek, but I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: mtbopfuyn

But were used to Gov. handouts,we don't want to change.


13 posted on 02/05/2006 12:51:13 PM PST by Unicorn (Too many wimps around.)
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To: Unicorn

Send in the heliocopters and airlift them out, as we did in September. That worked.


14 posted on 02/05/2006 2:40:55 PM PST by ClaireSolt (.)
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To: Ellesu

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.


15 posted on 02/05/2006 2:52:42 PM PST by taillightchaser
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To: Ellesu
They should have been kicked out of those hotels a long time ago.
16 posted on 02/05/2006 5:12:07 PM PST by Ninian Dryhope ("Bush lied, people dyed. Their fingers." The inestimable Mark Steyn)
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To: angelsonmyside

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.


17 posted on 02/05/2006 9:04:59 PM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: blu

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.


18 posted on 02/05/2006 9:21:35 PM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: mtbopfuyn

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.


19 posted on 02/05/2006 9:24:44 PM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: CajunConservative
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. It's a failure of imagination. Frankly, their imaginations are simply overwhelmed.

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.

Fascinating.

20 posted on 02/06/2006 3:06:06 AM PST by CobaltBlue (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.)
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To: angelsonmyside

They will be living in these hotels and motels in 20 years. FEMA is never going to pull the plug on funding these loafers. There are too many limp wrists in the country that will rally to their cause and the heat on the administration would be just too great. We would be listening to comments from Nancy Piglosi, Je$$e Jack$on, and Reparations John Conyers about all the money being spent in Iraq, and the contrasting racism in America exhibited toward these victims of America.


21 posted on 02/06/2006 3:38:30 AM PST by RushLake (The Democratic party--Mary Jo Kopechne is unavailable for comment.)
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To: CobaltBlue
It's a failure of imagination. Frankly, their imaginations are simply overwhelmed.

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.

They need to understand that the damage is more like the tsunami along the coast and flooded areas while the damage is like tornadoes inland. It's just that the path zone is a few hundred miles wide not 1 or 2 as in a tornado.

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.

I agree. It's just frustrating trying to convey those facts when all that is posted is vitriolic rage. Anyway, here is a follow up story with a little more information.

22 posted on 02/06/2006 6:40:36 AM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: RushLake
Lake Charles, Calcasieu and Cameron Parish are NOT New Orleans. The people here are hardworking, taxpaying, mostly conservative people. It's not the inner city ghettos you think it is either.

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach is the anti-Nagin. He is thoughtful, well spoken, was able to get Blanko to sign on the dotted lines, and he got the President's attention regarding how the evacuation was handled. Instead of a cursory 10 minute meeting before the POTUS viewed the damage he got the ear of the president for nearly 2 hours. That right there says more about how SWLA handled the storm. Remember Houston's evacuation had many kinks. We had no deaths related to Rita, Texas had over 100, mostly from the evacuation.


23 posted on 02/06/2006 7:11:53 AM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: CajunConservative

I am guilty of seeing "FEMA" and "hurricane" and immediately focusing on New Orleans and responding based upon the anger that I feel toward the political leaders in N.O. and in Louisiana who constantly tell me that I can never do enough for N.O. and those "victims". I meant you or honest people no offense.


24 posted on 02/06/2006 1:14:19 PM PST by RushLake (The Democratic party--Mary Jo Kopechne is unavailable for comment.)
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To: CajunConservative

I understand they're not the same but it is time for FEMA and the gov't to stop paying for hotel rooms and rentals.


25 posted on 02/06/2006 1:45:49 PM PST by Roux
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To: RushLake

That's okay. We feel the same way most of the time too. It's like Rita did not happen. As far as damage goes Rita damaged the infrastructure more than Katrina over a greater area. The *entire* electrical grid had to be rebuilt in SE Texas and SWLA.

It's really a shame that the media quickly forgot us and went back to the shenanigans of NOLA. Our mayor addressed the evacuation plans about a week after Katrina when we had thousands upon thousands of evacuees without transportation. That was a good thing because in two weeks we had to put them into place.

Randy Roach was smooth in getting rid of our Katrina evacuees too. After Rita slammed us he basically said not to come back because there were no services available. If they left their belongings they would be sent wherever they were. Granted there are still a few here but they are mostly working in the area.


26 posted on 02/06/2006 1:46:05 PM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: Roux

Agreed. We still need somewhere for people to live. It doesn't matter who is paying. Housing needs are critical here.


27 posted on 02/06/2006 1:48:28 PM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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To: Ellesu

How many of these evacuees have been working while on the federal dole?


28 posted on 02/06/2006 1:54:22 PM PST by cardinal4
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To: cardinal4
I guess the one's in Lake Charles are working since they weren't mentioned in the following report.
Jobless claims plummet as fewer workers here

By CityBusiness staff report

2006-02-06 2:45 PM CST

BATON ROUGE — Hurricane-related weekly unemployment benefit claims continueto plummet, according to the Louisiana Department of Labor.

As of Jan. 28, the number of active claims resulting from hurricanes Katrina and Rita was 125,895. In November, active claims reached 284,717. Active claims have continued to fall since Nov. 27 when the Labor Department reimposed a federal requirement that claimants call the department weekly to report they have looked for work and are available for employment. The requirement had been waived since September for Katrina victims and subsequently for Rita victims.

“We requested an executive order from the governor to waive the reporting requirement immediately after Hurricane Katrina. We felt that it was important to get benefits to displaced workers as quickly as possible,”Secretary of Labor John Warner Smith said. “Since that time, we have been holding job fairs, offering training programs and using whatever means available to us to get people back to work.”

Unemployment insurance claims show 64,209, or 51 percent, of all active claims were filed by people living in Louisiana. The rest, 61,686, or 49 percent, have been filed by evacuees living in other states.

A breakdown of the 64,209 claims in Louisiana shows:

Rank, City Number

1, Baton Rouge 14,097

2, New Orleans 9,523

3, Lafayette 7,799

4, Alexandria 5,300

5, Shreveport 4,779

6, Monroe 3,077

7, Other areas 2,494

Benefit claims are divided into two categories – unemployment insurance and disaster unemployment assistance. Weekly UI and DUA payments range from $10 to $258 a week. The UI payments are paid from the state Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. DUA is federally funded.

Department officials said key factors causing the decrease include:

· Claimants return to work.

· Benefits are lost because claimants fail to meet the weekly reporting requirement to look for a job and are “ready and available” for a job.

· Some simply chose to forego the smaller weekly benefits, which can beas low as $10.


29 posted on 02/06/2006 2:04:41 PM PST by CajunConservative (Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Jindal.)
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