Skip to comments.Lent house in shambles (Katrina evacuees trash accomodations)
Posted on 11/29/2005 6:01:20 PM PST by Nomorjer Kinov
When the Firm Foundation Worship Center got the call that a family of nine escaping Hurricane Katrina had arrived in Westminster needing a house, church members jumped into action.
"They came here with nothing," said Marge DiMaggio, the church's co-pastor.
As quickly as possible, church members made a house on church property look like a home.
When the Brown family left on Sunday, the DiMaggios were horrified to find the house in shambles.
"Hurricane hits Firm Foundation," said Marge DiMaggio.
While answering the call in September, church members' hearts were filled with compassion for the unknown family.
"We brought our pillows over," said Marge DiMaggio, so the family could sleep well the first night.
The church laid new carpet donated by Altieri Builders, redid the bathrooms, found appliances and even hung curtains to make the old-fashioned white-frame house welcoming to the family.
They bought clothes, assembled beds out of mattresses donated by the Westminster Rescue Mission and stocked the pantry with food.
The Browns paid no rent and no utilities for the house.
On Sunday, the DiMaggios entered the house after church, at about 1 p.m., said Marge DiMaggio's son, Brian DiMaggio. The Browns left during church services, between 11 and noon, he said.
A lamp was smashed on the floor, the lampshade stomped.
The screen door was torn off the hinges and flung onto the back deck.
Someone cut a hole in the trampoline that belonged to Joann DiMaggio's children.
Curtain rods were ripped from the wall and left bent and dangling from one screw.
Clothing, potato chip bags, soda cans, socks and empty bags were strewn throughout the house.
A hole was punched in a bathroom wall.
In another bathroom, dried toothpaste was smeared on the vanity, a capless toothpaste tube on the windowsill above.
A big, broken pink plastic car was abandoned on the hill outside the house.
In a dirty refrigerator upstairs, someone left a coffee mug with an inch or two layer of coffee sludge in the bottom.
Dirty dishes were stacked in the sink or on the counters.
But in perhaps the biggest insult, the words "MD Sucks" were emblazoned in black paint on the side of the home.
"When our eyes caught this, we all stood here and froze," Marge DiMaggio said.
Unhappy in Maryland
According to 42-year-old Keith Brown, who with his wife and children was halfway back to their home state of Louisiana, the property was not misused.
"We cleaned up as much as we could," he said.
He denied painting "MD Sucks" on the side of the house. His wife denied knowledge of any vandalism.
Yet Brown, whose family was referred to the church by Home Services Resources of Westminster, admitted to being unhappy during his stay here.
"We had a lot of problems with people about the house," he said.
The DiMaggios would come in and sneak around when the family was out, he said. The DiMaggios would tell them they needed to clean up this and that.
"Living in that environment and having someone watching over your shoulder wasn't worth crap," he said.
Marge and Joann DiMaggio were stunned at Brown's angry response to their generosity.
"The house was so fresh two months ago," said Marge DiMaggio. "We didn't check up on them," she said. "We didn't lord over them. We had no idea."
A few times early on they did ask that things be cleaned up, but that was only natural, she said.
Further, Brown said, the family was never provided with money he said the church promised to help them return home.
"If I wouldn't have done some under-the-table work ... I would never have the money to come home," Brown said.
All of this, he said, left a bad taste in his mouth.
They had to fight to keep items given to them, such as one of the home's two refrigerators and a washing machine, he said. The DiMaggios, who let the Browns have the items, said they had believed the appliances were donated to the house, not the family.
Brown said the DiMaggios, having heard a rumor the Browns were leaving, insulted the family by showing the house to another couple without the Browns' permission.
The DiMaggios had a right to show the house to prospective renters, Marge DiMaggio said. "Frankly, we didn't need permission to bring someone in."
The prospective renters said the house was trashed, but they did not see any vandalism, according to Brian DiMaggio.
The Browns never thanked the church for what it did, Marge DiMaggio said.
"I don't know why they would have a bad taste in their mouth when everything was given to them," she said. "We gave them everything. They never paid for anything."
Therein might lie the problem, said psychologist Harald Graning of Confidential Counseling of Westminster.
While the Browns might look like the ultimate ingrates, their response is not unnatural, he said.
"Suppose that you were living your life," he said, "and all of a sudden God came down and destroyed your house? You'd probably be pissed."
The anger that people feel under such circumstances needs to be vented and often isn't.
Unfortunately, the overwhelming generosity of others can backfire by intensifying the recipient's sense of anger and helplessness.
"You are forced to accept charity," he said. "It's demeaning."
Doing good makes the benefactor feel better, not the person being helped, he said. When the person on the receiving end can't repay the kindness and feels compelled to feel appreciative, he or she can become extremely frustrated. Acting out can occur.
Church members trying to make sense of the situation shouldn't feel rejected or upset their gifts were rejected, he said.
Only an idiot would think this 'family' was representative of most evacuees.
These people were trash, but many more who have been helped are extremely grateful. Those who help understand that there is some risk, yet they help anyway. They make this country better, not some keyboard blowhard.
Oh, I'm not apologizing for their behavior. I'm just saying that they probably routinely trash any house they live in as part of their normal lifestyle. They were probably in public or subsidized housing in NO and did the same thing there.
So maybe there was some added resentment against the people who tried to help them out, but I suspect they routinely misbehave anyway, and have taught the same misbehavior to their kids. No doubt the kids will all grow up to be little gangstas too.
Located in Carroll County Health Department
290 S. Center Street
Westminster, MD 21157
410-876-4410 or 410-876-4800
Addiction Program Coordinator: Harald Graning, L.C.S.W.-C.
What's racist about your post?
I agree. They were trash. Part of what they did was just the fact that they obviously weren't accustomed to keeping their place clean on a regular basis, and they clearly got a little annoyed about anybody making demands on them.
I imagine these were welfare folks who aren't used to having to do anything about their lives or their environment. A family member who worked for Habitat for years said certain people could get a brand new house and reduce it to a slum in under a year, mostly because they were totally passive and didn't know about cleaning or repairing.
I don't think this family was typical, though. Or at least I hope not.
Most head-shrinkers, these days, believe that "it's all
relative, there's no right or wrong".
I was taking a course at a local university. In the class were other adults my age, and some college aged kids.
The kids were getting ready to go into a nearby 'inner city' to help with the yearly clean-up of empty lots, and parks and so on. They were all excited and wide-eyed idealists.
During the discussion, one of the adults asked the kids why the people who lived there didn't pick up their own trash. You should have seen the looks on their faces!! It never occurred to them!
So I take it then that you took one in and you are not a "keyboard blowhard"?
Right. My grandparents were poor. Their home was always spotless.
You know the cost of "rebuilding" is droppping...as people learns of incidents like this..and the Fema and insurance companies go look at the damage..its easy to see you don't have to fix it up to much...to our standards that is..that's how they live...like trash in trash....most would be happy with a new dog kennel and a crack pipe
Wish I could say we are surprised. We are not. Many evacuees from Katrina were good people needing help. There are also those who are not, and are in our area causing all sort of problems. Drugs, murders, you name it.
Bless those who opened a home and hearts to them.
A final comment.... these people have lived generations on the "gimmie trail".... the expect and do not respect.
What a load of total BS!! The only people who "act out" and become "extremely frustrated" are lowlife, selfish, losers who feel they are entitled to whatever they can get because even when bad things happen that are nobodys fault, somebody has to PAY. It's vile and disgusting. People like the Browns are ungratreful slime. How utterly appalling.
About 5 years ago I bought a new truck and instead of "giving" my old '93 chevy S-10 with a lot of miles to a dealer on a trade in, I gave it to my 30 year old daughter who was very much in need of a vehicle.
She drove it for about a year and it developed transmission problems. She called me and wanted to know what I was going to do about it. I laughed in her ear over the phone and told her that my gift to her didn't come with a life time warranty.
She was upset with me but got over it, as I knew she would. She sold the truck "as is" for $1,000 - Do you think Dad saw any of that money?
I agree with you 100%. Stop making excuses for TRASH. That's what's wrong with the "system". They were ungrateful and disrespectful. Period.!!!
I predict that CNN, ABC and NBC will come down heavily on the side of the broke evacuees, claiming that the evil rich imperialist Bushistas are tossing old black people in the streets while raping the planet for oil. FOX will be the only MSM who even suggests that perhaps the evacuees should have been looking for jobs and housing all this time. Kanye West and the Rev'rund Jacks'hun will be all over this. It will be reported as yet more evidence of the pathetic state of race relations and abject poverty in this country since Bush was (s)elected.
1. Most of these people should not have been taken out of Louisiana. New Orleans is a bad place for reason.
2. Except for one person I haven't heard a single Katrina evacuee say thank you in public.
3. Hopefully, the DiMaggio's have learned a lesson.
When you say how "they" live, whom do you mean by "they?"
It's sometimes nice to watch a liberal get educated.
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