New Op-Ed: “Trump’s Katrina”? For Housing, it’s Worse

New Op-Ed: “Trump’s Katrina”? When it Comes to the Housing Response, it’s Worse

The Orlando Sentinel published yesterday an op-ed by NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel on a federal judge’s ruling that FEMA can evict thousands of Hurricane Maria survivors still living in hotels or motels. “The Court cannot order [FEMA to] do that which in a humanitarian and caring world should be done,” the judge said. Ms. Yentel notes that some have called the president’s response to Hurricane Maria “Trump’s Katrina.” “When it comes to the housing response,” she says, “it’s worse.”

Hurricanes Maria and Katrina were similar in many ways: both massive storms that inflicted the greatest harm on low income communities of color neglected by the federal government for decades, and both characterized by “inept, delayed and badly botched recovery efforts.” Almost 2,000 died as a result of Katrina while nearly 3,000 died from Maria, most low income minorities. Hundreds of thousands were displaced, many having to rely on hotel vouchers from FEMA, subject to repeated arbitrary deadlines and forced to leave hotels to precarious living conditions or homelessness.

“That’s where the similarities end,” says Ms. Yentel. While some Katrina survivors were provided alternative disaster housing after hotel stays, Maria survivors are offered a one-way ticket back to Puerto Rico, where rebuilding is just beginning. If not for FEMA’s “inaction and stubborn, willful disregard,” these survivors could instead be provided rental assistance through the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP).

Read the full op-ed at: