Friday, July 11, 2008

Obstacles Remaining

The elderly owners of this residence have been unable to return home. Neighbors pulled together to do the required gutting of the house and have saved salvageable items that Katrina did not destroy.

Thieves are vandalizing abandoned houses.

The "x" notes a house targeted for demolition this week - even though a neighbor wishes to purchase it.

After spending 9 days rescuing his neighbors from attics and rooftops and searching for food and water supplies for them, this resident is fighting eviction from his FEMA trailer. He's awaiting a promised insurance payment before he can rebuild and states he'll make a home out of the two storage sheds if necessary.

Although signs of rebirth are evident throughout St. Bernard Parish, residents are still encountering roadblocks in their efforts to rebuild and re-establish their community:

· many residents await aid, but find themselves mired in the procedures, red tape and bureaucracy of programs created to help them such as FEMA, Road Home (federal money provided to each state for Katrina victims), and insurance companies
· many residents face immediate eviction from their FEMA trailers, to be replaced with six-month rental vouchers - yet after six months, they would be faced with rent double the pre-Katrina rates
· in many cases, the aid received was minuscule, and cannot cover the cost to rebuild their homes
· many residents have symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression
· many homes marked with a red “x” are set for demolition – even though neighbors have expressed an interest in buying the home and property
· copper wiring and other valuables are being stolen from abandoned homes
· K-Mart and Walmart have not returned to the community – limiting local access for the purchase of clothes and other necessities

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