Local issues

FEMA rejects Mayor White’s request to allow Houston to begin immediate emergency housing repairs

Blue plastic tarps and not an adequate answer to the roof damage suffered by low-income Hurricane Ike survivors.  FEMA should have learned this lesson.
Blue plastic tarps and not an adequate answer to the roof damage suffered by low-income Hurricane Ike survivors. FEMA should have learned this lesson.

Speaking about the need to take quick action to weatherproof houses damaged by Hurricane Ike, I earlier recommended a concerned effort to immediately begin a program to put permanent roofs back on homes instead of relying on blue plastic tarps.

The experience in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita was that the tarps don’t hold up and the cost of rehabilitation grows enormously once water starts coming in through the roof.

Houston Mayor Bill White sought to implement a program to get permanent roofs back on houses along with repairing damaged doors and windows.  This would have been directed only a low income households.  The Mayor is reported to have offered to front the costs if FEMA would reimburse the city.

I am told by someone who heard this from city officials that FEMA said no to the mayor’s request.

That is one major mistake by FEMA.

I started my commitment to housing justice for people and communities with low incomes in 1975 in Austin's Clarksville community. These years of working side-by-side with dedicated community leaders to find solutions to housing and community development challenges have taught me some things and I’m learning new things every day.

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