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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Agreed. We still need somewhere for people to live. It doesn't matter who is paying. Housing needs are critical here.
How many of these evacuees have been working while on the federal dole?
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.