The Summer Turnstyle

This week a young woman who works at the Wal-Mart in Harvey needed a place to rent immediately because her father’s senior living assistance from FEMA was being cut-off. He is in Baton Rouge. Miss B., my friend, was able to get her into one side of a shotgun double even though the house wasn’t quite ready. No matter if she had a refrigerator or a stove and she managed to scrounge around for some window units on her own. Her father is elderly, the heat is becoming an issue. It felt good to help her but I am getting a little worried about the cut-off of rental assistance. How many people are going to be trying to get back into the city because FEMA’s done paying their rent? You can get involved directly with making livable space in this city. You can volunteer with Rebuilding Together or Habitat for Humanity or the Green Project or the New Orleans Housing Resource Center, run by Paul Baricos. It’s a good time to buy property at auction if you have the skills to renovate. I am working on helping my neighbor navigate the Louisiana Road Home registration process. Chances are, you have already hosted someone temporarily until they found someplace to live. And rents are starting to look like NYC in the uptown area.

In a similar situation, the PRC’s Rebuilding Together program has been working with volunteers to repair the home of John and Audrey Colin, in Gentilly; the heavily damaged Seventh Ward area, just around the corner from St. Augustine High School. Audrey and John share their home with their daughter, Gerard, who is in a wheelchair due to Muscular Sclerosis. The Colin family spent three days in the Superdome, then the Astrodome, and moved a total of eight times before settling in Kingswood, TX.

Late last week the Colin’s notified RT that their rental assistance from FEMA would run out this week, and that they had to move out by Thursday. Rebuilding Together went into overdrive, putting extra volunteers on the job to prepare for their arrival on Friday afternoon.

We can help people get home, even then, it’s still going to be a struggle once they are here. We still have people ‘camping’ a few blocks from me. Yeah, they are paying rent for this place. I handed my condo over to some desperate students and stationed myelf in a flooded area. They told me one guy was trying to rent his ‘garage’ out in Broadmoore for $800. Made my place look like a deal.

Another issue coming down the pike, according to Captain Colin of the 1st District, is the kids who will be returning from other cities to hang out in their home town this summer with nothing to do. The New Marigny neighborhood association is organizing programs for returning kids so they can help clean up neighborhoods/neutral grounds, etc. Another great way to help bring our city back and address that persistent ‘security’ issue the gen pop is all worked up about. I have always said, this city ain’t for everyone, so if you’re tired or can’t find a decent job, at least you’re leaving room for someone else to take their turn at beating themselves into the ground for a while.

2 Comments so far

  1. Paul Murphy (unregistered) on May 28th, 2006 @ 1:23 pm

    Where can you find information about houses going up for auction?

  2. Laureen (unregistered) on May 28th, 2006 @ 4:46 pm

    This information was in last Wednesday’s T-P. Miss B. and I went through the process. You register, then they send you information based on whether you are an individual or developer.

    Also, Operation Comeback at the PRC is a good place to see what’s available for pretty cheap and they do all the evaluations for you regarding what needs to be done.

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