Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hedge-Morrell's Amendment Makes Sense

I have long criticized the upcoming FEMA trailer eviction deadline policy as poorly planned and hastily executed.

Today's T-P article indicates that the process is problematic for many:

Davida Finger, an attorney with the Loyola clinic, said many of her clients still in trailers continue to tussle with the Road Home program and can't rebuild their homes. Finger said the city should halt any plans to cite people after July 1, as well as possibly evict them from trailers, until it has set up a clearer process.

"I understand they want to do something if there are a lot of unused trailers sitting around and concerns about people's health," said Laura Tuggle, an attorney with New Orleans Legal Aid. "But they need to explain how the process will work to people, so people don't panic."

Tuggle said she's also concerned that the federal rental assistance program for Katrina victims isn't running smoothly enough to accommodate a new influx of people leaving trailers.

I have long argued that the affordable housing crisis and the lack of inexpensive rentals makes the eviction policy untenable.

There are an estimated 4,700 trailers. That's an awful lot of people that could require rental assistance.

Cynthia Hedge-Morrell has proposed extending the eviction deadline to September 30th for trailer residents in Districts D and E, which were more heavily damaged by the flood.

This is a solid idea that should have been included in the original policy. Not only does it give more time for people to complete renovations, find their own permanent housing solutions, or compile the documentation necessary to exempt themselves from eviction, but it also allows the city to concentrate on fairly vetting exemption applications from trailer residents elsewhere in the city where eviction proponents claim trailers have outlived their necessity.

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