“Left Scrambling” After Months of Free Room + $9K

This is overall a good article in New York Magazine about the lazy hand-out mentality of a small percentage of those displaced by Katrina. However this quote bothered me:

The others left in February and March, when, after spending more than $500 million, FEMA stopped paying for hotel rooms housing some 40,000 evacuees across the country. That left many scrambling for places to live. But thanks to the city’s squatters-rights law, evacuees here were safe. Their rooms weren’t paid for, but since they’d been in them for more than 30 days, the hotels couldn’t just kick them out. Only a judge’s order could evict them. [emphasis mine]

How can you refer to someone as left scrambling after they’ve been given months to get on their feet? Perhaps we need a federal law exempting anyone who takes in disaster evacuees under a federal program from local eviction laws. After all, we don’t want hotels refusing to take in legitimate victims next time because some people equate a federal disaster relief with some sort of lottery winnings. Here’s another quote:

FEMA sent him $9,000 in housing aid, but he spent it all on booze, cigarettes, some clothes, and food—partying, mostly. “I spent my money just the way I wanted, and I think [FEMA] should send me some more,” he says. But it won’t.

And Johnson, 49, isn’t that motivated to leave. For one thing, AMC’s in the middle of its “Thrill Me” marathon. Next up, Gothika. “Halle Berry,” he says with lazy lust.

First of all, why haven’t they cut off his cable? New York City probably has a “tenant protection” law against removing essential services such as cable TV. FEMA should really be fair to these hotels and send some agents in to remove guys like this one. I doubt the feds have to abide by local eviction laws in this case, and after all, they were the ones who put him there.

Hat tip Randy.

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1 Response to “Left Scrambling” After Months of Free Room + $9K

  1. Rand says:

    I suspect it might not be possible to kill cable to just one room.

    What gets me is the 1/2 billion for 40,000 people… That’s 6,250 per person per month. Or just a tad over 200 per person per day. For hotel fees.

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