Fight Back for FEMA Disaster Housing

Take Action!
Tell Congress to Demand that FEMA Honor Its Housing Obligations
to People Displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita!

Help displaced hurricane survivors by calling the chairpersons of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security and the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversee the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).

Tell them that the U.S. government should not be in the business of making people homeless. Let them know that you are outraged that FEMA plans to renege on its agreement to provide displaced Gulf Coast residents with rental assistance vouchers for 18 months, until February 2007.1. FEMA’s plan threatens over 50,000 people with homelessness as early as the next 4-6 weeks.

We need Congress to do the right thing and demand that FEMA honor its rental assistance agreement for displaced persons. Further, Congress must ensure that the U.S. government adheres to its policy – Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons Policy (USAID) – which establishes the human rights protections of people who are forced to leave their communities as a result of a natural or man-made disaster.

Please don’t wait! Displaced residents are counting on you
to make this important phone call now!

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security:
Peter T. King (R-NY) Curt Weldon (R-PA)
Chairman Vice Chairman
(202) 225-7896 (202) 225-2011

U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee:
Susan M. Collins (R-ME) Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT)
Chairman Ranking Member
(202) 224-2523 (202) 224-4041

After the storm, FEMA issued 18-month vouchers for housing and utilities to hurricane survivors. Survivors took the vouchers to landlords and signed leases. Then FEMA came back around and cut the vouchers down to 12 months. Survivors re-signed leases for the shorter period.

But in May, after just 9 months, FEMA announced that it would stop paying rent and utilities immediately for many survivors. FEMA was already behind on the bills, so landlords started evicting folks, and electric companies started shutting off the power. (By contrast, when the US provides aid to disaster survivors in other countries, it plans for 2-3 years of disaster housing.)

The US public is largely unaware that FEMA is piling on the misery and stress that the displaced are daily suffering. We need to expose FEMA’s cruelty toward the Gulf Coast victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the man-made levee failure in New Orleans.

PHRF, AEHR, the US Human Rights Network, the Gulf Coast Renewal Campaign, Saving Our Selves and others will hold a protest by hurricane survivors at FEMA headquarters on June 13, 2006.  A bus full of survivors who have been given notice by FEMA that it will no longer pay their rents and utilities will travel from Houston and points east (Lafayette, New Orleans, Gulf Port, Mobile, Atlanta, and North Carolina) to Washington, DC to expose FEMA's cruelty and failures.  They will protest outside FEMA headquarters and hold a national press conference to urge the media to alert the US and world public to join them and demand  that FEMA stop its eviction of the displaced from last summers hurricanes.

Some members of the group will also testify at a hearing on Capitol Hill about the housing situation for the displaced.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee will hold hearings throughout June on issues facing the Hurricane victims.

We call on all of our friends and supporters to join with us in the protest at FEMA headquarters and to send us donations to assist in the covering the costs of this milepost in our long battle with FEMA. 

For information please contact Malcolm Suber: malcolm [at] peopleshurricane [dot] org or (504) 301-0215