Archive for August 31st, 2011

31st August
written by Catherine An

Monday was the six year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall on southern Louisiana. Today – six years later – people in the Gulf Coast are still struggling to recover from the devastating effects of the storm.

National Public Radio ran a couple pieces this week about the struggle of some communities to secure housing. In one story, the reporter discusses the plight of people along the Mississippi coast – communities that were overlooked by state agencies and federal aid. While some assistance is reaching them now, some posit that the help is both little and late.

In a second NPR story, a reporter profiles Pamela Landry, a woman who built a house with two sheds after her mobile home was destroyed by the hurricane. The makeshift home was a step up from the FEMA trailer that she lived in for two years following Katrina but still lacks insulation and heating, among other amenities.

Earlier this year, the Alliance re-examined homelessness in the Gulf Coast, explicitly noting the great increases in homelessness in Louisiana/Mississippi region, largely attributable to people left vulnerable to housing instability after Katrina came through the area. On this, the 6th anniversary of that terrible natural disaster, we remind ourselves of the damage the storm caused to so many communities and the vast number of people out there still awaiting the aid necessary to rebuild their lives. (To see the insert about Hurricane Katrina in The State of Homelessness in America, see page 10.)

It is up to us to ensure that people are not left behind again. In the wake of some unusual natural disasters in the country(a mid-Atlantic earthquake and Hurricane Irene come to mind), we realize that the unexpected can strike at any time, causing chaos and havoc for ordinary citizens. We urge local, state, and federal agencies to commit themselves to help people affected by disaster – we can work to ensure that their lives resume normalcy as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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