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Posted: 6/2/2008 12:55:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/2/2008 3:36:25 PM EST by kar98k]
Article in yesterdays LA Times. I did a search, but didn't see this referenced.


http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-trailers1-2008jun01,0,3811675.story
From the Los Angeles Times
Displaced by Katrina and edged out of FEMA trailer parks
Some Louisiana residents left homeless by the hurricane find themselves cast out again with the last emergency trailer parks set to close. A few cannot find housing; others wonder how long they can af
By Jenny Jarvie
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

June 1, 2008

BAKER, LA. — Curtis Westbrook cut a lonely figure as he sat outside his trailer this week, chain-smoking as workmen hauled another empty trailer away.

He had already loaded all of his belongings -- a television and some dishes and clothes -- into his white Jeep Cherokee. But he was not sure how far the old Jeep would make it. With the motor mounts broken, he had rigged the engine on wooden sticks.

In any case, he was not sure where to go. He had barely a day to meet the deadline to vacate the Renaissance Village trailer park, and he didn't know whether he could pay $400 a month for an apartment in nearby Baton Rouge. So he just sat there, waiting.

Westbrook, 53, is one of hundreds of residents across the Gulf Coast struggling to leave trailer parks by today. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, pressed by reports of potentially hazardous formaldehyde levels in trailers, is rushing to close its last six emergency trailer parks by the first day of hurricane season.

FEMA says that no one will be kicked out of their trailer parks if they haven't found a place to stay. With 27 of the 575 units at Renaissance Village in Baker still occupied Saturday, an agency spokesman acknowledged it might take a few more days to empty the park.

Yet critics accuse the agency of pressing residents to leave before they have found permanent housing. With affordable apartments in short supply, some are relocating to motels -- they can stay there for up to 30 days while they hunt for a new residence. Even those who have found rental apartments and houses do not necessarily have a plan for paying the rent when the government's emergency subsidies run out.

"I'm under more stress now than in the hurricane," said Ghulam Nasim, 79, a retired doctor who had wrapped his clothes up in sheets but remained in his trailer poring over a stack of letters he had written to FEMA's director requesting an extension.

"They don't even do me the courtesy of responding," he said. "It's just, 'When are you going to leave? When are you going to leave?' They don't seem to care where we end up."

Life is still precarious for many who were displaced after Hurricane Katrina, especially those who remain in the government trailer parks. The parks were emergency shelters, but they also served as mass halfway homes where thousands of low-income residents, mostly from New Orleans, could adjust to the soaring rents and fractured social networks of post-Katrina life.

Renaissance Village was once the biggest emergency trailer park in the United States, but more than 500 households have relocated to apartments, homes and hotels. Most of those who remain in the trailers just north of Baton Rouge are poor, elderly or disabled. Some struggle with depression or are resistant to change; others are convicted felons or have drug and alcohol addictions.

"He will just sit there for the rest of his life if no one intervenes," Sister Judith Brun, a Roman Catholic nun coordinating assistance, said Thursday of one resident on her list of tenants who had yet to secure homes. "And this woman," she said, pointing to another name, "she's about to have a nervous breakdown."

Moving is an immense challenge for residents without access to transportation or phones. At midweek, with the deadline looming, there were almost as many recovery workers and caseworkers at the park as residents. They scrambled to help people tour apartments, fax leases to landlords, track down copies of birth certificates.

And still the requests kept coming in: Were there any boxes? How could they get a U-Haul truck?

Even those who have already moved face problems. Some are in apartments without furniture. Others are concerned about where they will go when the government's emergency subsidies run out. As early as Friday afternoon, residents in hotels began to call, saying they were hungry. A volunteer was dispatched to Sam's Club to buy microwaveable macaroni and cheese, bread, and peanut butter and jelly.

Most of the households leaving the trailer parks are eligible for emergency government-subsidized housing until March. Those who cannot prove where they were living before Katrina will get FEMA housing aid for one month.

"They just want you to get out of here, but they don't care where you move," said Bryan Hebert, 46, who moved to an apartment but returned to the trailer park last week to eat and work out a long-term housing plan. Hebert is not eligible for FEMA funding because he cannot track down his old New Orleans landlord. He said he had trouble finding work without a vehicle or good access to public transportation.

"I just pray to God and hope he brings me the answer," he said as he dipped a saltine cracker into a can of tuna.

Despite the problems, almost all of the last residents at Renaissance Village said they were eager to leave.

Lorraine Autman, 63, who had already checked in to the Chase Suites hotel in Baton Rouge, returned to the trailer park Friday to finish packing. Most of her neighbors had left, and all that remained were a trail of discarded possessions: a yellow-handled mop, a potato peeler, a deflated birthday balloon, oyster shells, Mardi Gras beads and an empty Fruit Smiles carton.

Inside the trailer, she found the air conditioner broken and the empty refrigerator crawling with tiny roaches.

"I'm not going to miss this place," she said.

All she wanted to do was get back to Chase Suites and turn on her faucets until her bathtub was high. The tub, she said, would ease her worries about how to pay $1,100 a month rent on a fixed income of $756.

"It's the long-term perspective that makes you stress," she said, as she trudged over a field that was already beginning to look more like a pasture than a metropolis of the dispossessed.

jenny.jarvie@latimes.com


What gets me is that these folks have been taken care of for almost 3 years now. I find it difficult to feel very sorry for these people who seem to revel in their victimhood and do nothing to help themselves except to demand yet another handout from the govt.



Link Posted: 6/2/2008 1:23:57 PM EST
I agree with you! I'm sick of hearing about the poor folks who have had free housing and free money and free food and free clothing FOR YEARS NOW!!!! If you cant find a home there then move, they have been giving you money for a long time now and you have done what with it?? NO PLANS, NO SAVINGS, NO LOOKING FOR JOBS...

Ohh and it's everyones fault but theirs!!!
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 1:51:16 PM EST
history shows that the type of people that are doing this now have done this in the past and are certain to do it in the future.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 2:11:21 PM EST

Originally Posted By kar98k:


BAKER, LA. — Curtis Westbrook cut a lonely figure as he sat outside his trailer this week, chain-smoking as workmen hauled another empty trailer away.





Where the hell is he getting money to chain smoke if he can't fix his car or pay rent?
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 2:13:46 PM EST
I agree, they should have been out of there before now. As tax payers we all pay for them to stay there and live better then most did before. Why would they get out look for a job and better themselves when everything is given to them now.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 3:11:30 PM EST
While I agree about those who sponge off of the taxpayer and play professional victim....

I both laugh and cry when I hear "Its been one two years now, how long could it take to rebuild a few homes." Well, it takes a lot longer to recover from a disaster of this magnitude than people realize and the government is partially to blame.

I was in Grand Forks, ND in 1997 during the big floods there. GF is approximately 60,000 people and a significant portion of the population suffered loss ranging from 6 feet of water in the basement, to total loss.

It took about 5 years for things to completely return to normal. Why???

First the government had to make a plan...do you allow people to rebuild in the same place...turn it into green space....or build bigger levies where homes once were.

Simple decision right??? Well while government debated, the people rolled up their sleeves and started rebuilding including the hardest hit. Then after a few months the people were told that they would be "bought out" at a "fair" price that was below the worth of some houses that had rebuilt. Also the hardest hit were some of the old historic homes...can't touch those you know. People didn't want to be split up, wanted neighborhoods kept intact. "I want my kids to go to the same school...etc". Folks balked at the plans and a new plan had to be made...evictions took place.....etc.

This was only 60,000 people.

Now throw in a large number of "entitlement mentality" folks and you can see why this would take a lot longer.

Aviator
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 3:15:17 PM EST

Originally Posted By AJE:

Originally Posted By kar98k:


BAKER, LA. — Curtis Westbrook cut a lonely figure as he sat outside his trailer this week, chain-smoking as workmen hauled another empty trailer away.





Where the hell is he getting money to chain smoke if he can't fix his car or pay rent?



Your tax dollars
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 3:17:15 PM EST

Originally Posted By Ghost013:
I agree with you! I'm sick of hearing about the poor folks who have had free housing and free money and free food and free clothing FOR YEARS NOW!!!! If you cant find a home there then move, they have been giving you money for a long time now and you have done what with it?? NO PLANS, NO SAVINGS, NO LOOKING FOR JOBS...

Ohh and it's everyones fault but theirs!!!


They will find a nice section 8 place somewhere.

Most probaly lived for free before the storm anyway. They dont want to do anything, own anything or earn anything.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 3:21:02 PM EST
Anyone who has almost 3 years to find a job and save some money while living for free on the government dime and fails to do so has no sympathy from me.

What did that woman spend her $700 a month on? Certainly not rent! 700 x 24 months = almost 17 grand!
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 3:55:12 PM EST

Originally Posted By AJE:

Originally Posted By kar98k:


BAKER, LA. — Curtis Westbrook cut a lonely figure as he sat outside his trailer this week, chain-smoking as workmen hauled another empty trailer away.





Where the hell is he getting money to chain smoke if he can't fix his car or pay rent?


Same place he gets his beer money, food stamps. The last of the loosers should be tilled under for compost. For once thay would give back.
Link Posted: 6/2/2008 4:05:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By AJE:

Originally Posted By kar98k:


BAKER, LA. — Curtis Westbrook cut a lonely figure as he sat outside his trailer this week, chain-smoking as workmen hauled another empty trailer away.





Where the hell is he getting money to chain smoke if he can't fix his car or pay rent?


Yup, cigs are what now, ~5 bucks a pack? 2 ppd times the three years ole Curtis has spent in the "emergency" living situation equals ~ $11,000.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 5:16:19 AM EST
Where can I live for free for three years? I would have about $45,000. in investments, a real nice Car BOV, and all the preps one could imagine in my New house BOL.


Originally Posted By AJE:

Originally Posted By kar98k:


BAKER, LA. — Curtis Westbrook cut a lonely figure as he sat outside his trailer this week, chain-smoking as workmen hauled another empty trailer away.





Where the hell is he getting money to chain smoke if he can't fix his car or pay rent?


All replies here seem to be the same.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 7:30:41 AM EST
I don't feel sorry for losers that have had years to get on their feet and choose to piss life away instead.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 7:52:21 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/4/2008 7:52:50 AM EST by Makarov]
Jesus F'n Christ!!!

That damn storm ended almost three years ago! It is time to breathe-in, breathe-out and move on New Orleans.


I was in NOLA last August and got a tour from some of the local residents (business relationships). In many neighborhoods people have wedged a FEMA trailer any way they can onto their property ususally between the wreckage of their house and a driveway or the street. They pipe into the city water and sewerage running above ground and have "temporary" electrical hookup with service from a 4x4 post in their overgrown yard. They appeared to be making no effort to "rebuild" any further.

Link Posted: 6/4/2008 7:59:35 AM EST

Originally Posted By 87GN:
Anyone who has almost 3 years to find a job and save some money while living for free on the government dime and fails to do so has no sympathy from me.


+1 considering that when I was there, every business in the French Quarter had bold "Help Wanted" signs posted in the windows.

I spoke with the manager of one of the more famous restaurants and asked why he had almost half the tables stacked with chairs and dimmed. I thought it was lack of business but he told me it was because he could'nt find enough employees to fully staff the restaurant.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:31:19 AM EST

Originally Posted By bill3rail:
Where can I live for free for three years? I would have about $45,000. in investments, a real nice Car BOV, and all the preps one could imagine in my New house BOL.


Originally Posted By AJE:

Originally Posted By kar98k:


BAKER, LA. — Curtis Westbrook cut a lonely figure as he sat outside his trailer this week, chain-smoking as workmen hauled another empty trailer away.





Where the hell is he getting money to chain smoke if he can't fix his car or pay rent?


All replies here seem to be the same.


It was a retorical question
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 8:44:56 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 11:03:01 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/4/2008 12:21:31 PM EST by JimM44]
Well FEMA, so much for not forcing people out, they confronted and elderly man and he made them leave at gun point, so they called the NO Police who shot and killed him.

"Police Kill Man in Standoff over FEMA Trailer"

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/06/04/fema.standoff.ap/index.html


Edit: Let me add if you didn't read the article, he left the trailer and went back into his damaged house and that's where they killed him, the trailer was empty.
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 12:07:45 PM EST
is the trailer for sale cheap?



just joking
Link Posted: 6/4/2008 2:13:41 PM EST
I suppose the trailers were nice and new 2-3 years ago? And they were well taken care of and are only slightly used now... If you are getting it for free and you had to live in it, wouldn't you take care of it? I have a bad feeling about this question but I have to ask.
Link Posted: 6/7/2008 8:47:55 AM EST
All the FEMA trailers are being collected and destroyed. Even the brand new ones that were never deployed.

The reason: Formaldehyde. The residents (who have filed 12 class action lawsuits) have claimed that the substance has been making them sick. Keep in mind, these trailers were built by the same companies who build standard modular houses, trailers and motor homes, using the same materials. The formaldehyde (used in plywood glue) outgasses in less then a week to levels less then .2ppm.

So, somehow the "victims" are entitled to huge $s because a naturally occurring substance that is found in EVERY other trailer made in the US is somehow making them sick. Guess it is only harmful to hoodrats.

I swear, sometimes there is no helping people. Three years and they still don't have their shit together. Screw em, let em starve.
Link Posted: 6/7/2008 9:07:54 AM EST
Actually, I have seen "Katrina" trailers for sale at GSA auctions. If you do a Google-fu on "GSA Auctions", you may come across a few sites. If memory serves, the trailers cost a couple grand, give or take, in "used" condition. I considered getting one for an "outlaw visit suite."
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