Thursday, May 28, 2009

Katrina Survivors Slated For Eviction From FEMA Trailers

"I need the trailer. I ain't got nowhere to go if they take the trailer…This storm broke me. I need some help. And I got a long way to go."

-Ernest Hammond, 70, on pending FEMA trailer evictions

FEMA is at it again and we need your help.

The agency has announced that on May 30, 2009, it will act to evict thousands of residents from FEMA trailers in the Gulf States in spite of the fact that these residents have had limited support and lots of barriers in their efforts to find permanent housing. Please act now to stop this travesty.

Mr. Ernest Hammond is a case in point. Hammond, a 70 year old, former New Orleans homeowner, could not get financial help from Louisiana's Road Home program for his triplex since the housing structure was ineligible for a grant. To help himself, Mr. Hammond has collected almost $10,000 in aluminum cans but that won't even begin to cover the costs to rebuild his home in the 7th Ward. His FEMA trailer is keeping him off the street while he struggles to return home.

Mr. Hammond is one of thousands of families living in FEMA trailers because they are either caught in a web of deeply flawed, bureaucratic home repair grant programs, a victim of all too rampant contractor fraud or simply priced out of a rising rental markets where affordable housing is being demolished or gentrified.

No one chooses to live in a FEMA trailer, but it is better than no home at all. Evicting residents without providing access to safe, permanent housing will only lead to homelessness and further destabilize families.

Thursday, May 28th is a National Day of Action organized by the US Human Rights Network to turn this around. Together, we helped keep survivors off the streets. Please take a minute to click and send an email or make a call to let the Administration know that evictions are a bad idea.

Tell President Obama and Congress to extend the May 30th FEMA trailer program deadline!

Say NO to FEMA's decision to forcibly evict residents from trailers!

Tell President Obama and FEMA that they must stop FEMA's plan to forcefully evict Gulf Region residents from temporary trailers.

The Facts:

-Nearly 5,000 FEMA trailers continue to provide housing to residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina

-2,800 FEMA trailers in Louisiana, with 1, 000 trailers located in Orleans Parish, LA and 2,000 FEMA trailers in Mississippi

Most FEMA trailer occupants are elderly and/or disabled persons in desperate need of effective support and case management services to stabilize their housing and wellbeing.

FEMA trailer occupants are displaced homeowners and renters still struggling to rebuild their homes or secure affordable housing after Katrina and Rita.

Human Rights Begins at Home!

The United Nations' Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement is a human rights policy that, for several years, has guided our government in providing temporary and permanent homes for people in foreign countries displaced by earthquakes, typhoons, and flooding. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton only recently announced that the U.S. will apply the UN's standards to assist displaced persons in Pakistan.

Hurricane Katrina displaced over a million people, many of whom have yet to fully recover as a result of governmental actions that are contrary to the UN's standards and human rights treaties ratified in the US. Gulf Region residents, both renters and homeowners, have worked tirelessly to access safe, permanent housing, and should have the support that our government provides to foreign countries under the Guiding Principles.

Abrupt removal of residents from their only source of shelter is unacceptable!

Hold our elected leaders to their promise of Gulf Region recovery, and demand equal protection under the same human rights policy that the U.S. government applies to displaced persons in other countries.

Tell FEMA to provide an extension to all homeowners and renters living in FEMA trailers to allow them sufficient time to repair their homes and/or find alternative housing.

Additional time would allow:

Louisiana homeowners to appeal denials of Road Home grants, or go to a Road Home closing.
Mississippi homeowners to be matched with available Katrina cottages that sit idle.
Renters more time to obtain rental assistance or other permanent affordable housing.

Demand Action Now!

Call the Obama Administration and FEMA to demand action now! Tell our government not to carry forward yesterday's short-sighted policies and to apply the same human rights standards to displaced persons in the Gulf States. Demand a stop to the FEMA trailer deadline and the guarantee of safe, permanent housing in the Gulf Region.

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan (202) 708-0417

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano (202) 282-8000; (202) 282-8495

FEMA Administrator Fugate (202) 646-2500

Thank you for making a difference and please forward this note to others. Our voices matter.

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