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750 Groups Oppose Budget Cuts for Katrina Relief

"A little less than two months after images of the poor
in New Orleans dominated the media, it's become clear
that Congress and White House not only won't initiate
any new anti-poverty programs but will continue
proposing cuts to existing programs that target the
poor, including Medicaid and food stamps."
Roll Back The Rents
To join this group, just send an e-mail to;
rollbacktherents-subscribe (at)

October 12, 2005

---750 Groups Oppose Budget Cuts For Katrina Relief---

The GOP is threatening to loot the nations domestic
humanitarian programs in an effort to pay back the
wealthy corporate elite, which have financed their
political campaigns.

In opposition, a coalition of 750 groups have joined
together to oppose the proposed budget cuts being
promoted to fund Katrina Relief efforts and the
rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region... See article

Corporations are not in existence to serve the poor
and with the GOP ready to slash major programs that
assist those left behind by the excesses of corporate
capitalism, it is time for the people to arise in a
rebellion against the proposed budget cuts that are
meant to serve the interest's of the very wealthy...

[The Census Bureau was announcing that in 2004 another
1 million Americans had been added to the poverty
rolls, raising the total to 37 million. The agency
said the number of people without health insurance
also increased by 800,000 last year to 45.8 million.
The situation is even worse among poorer Gulf Coast
states hit by the hurricane.]

Stealing from the poor is no solution to cover the
costs of the Bush Regime's scheme to give $1.7
trillion in tax cuts to the Super Rich and to pay for
the illegal War on Iraq.

The GOP will totally loot the nations humanitarian
programs if the people fail to hit the streets in

---Class Issues & Contributions of Poor Magazine---

A special thanks to Dee & Tiny for the fine work they
do in covering issues that are often over-looked in
the main stream press...

I was really pleased to hear Tiny on KALW earlier this
week during the national discussion on NPR about Class
Issues and poverty...

Lynda Carson-

Roll Back The Rents

Cuts proposed to fund Katrina aid

Cox News Service
Wednesday, October 12, 2005

WASHINGTON — Hurricane Katrina forced the issues of
poverty and race into American living rooms, raising
liberals' hopes for a renewed war on poverty and
prompting President Bush to pledge to "confront this
poverty with bold action."

A little less than two months after images of the poor
in New Orleans dominated the media, it's become clear
that Congress and White House not only won't initiate
any new anti-poverty programs but will continue
proposing cuts to existing programs that target the
poor, including Medicaid and food stamps.

With the war in Iraq, record budget deficits and Bush
already under fire from conservatives for spending too
much, social welfare groups said they now just hope to
hold onto the federal aid they already get.

"With this Congress, I'm very pessimistic," said
Sheila Zedlewski of the Urban Institute. "We're really
roped in. You can't start an new initiative unless you
have the energy and wherewithal."

Welfare groups appeal

Congress is already under pressure to cut $35 billion
over the next five years to reduce the deficit, and
most of those cuts are expected to come from
entitlement programs that benefit the poor. Last week,
House leaders upped the ante, announcing that the cuts
should be increased to $50 billion to help pay for
hurricane cleanup.

A coalition of 750 social welfare groups is urging
Congress not to cut programs, arguing that demand for
such aid will only increase, given the thousands of
evacuees from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

"Rather than addressing the urgent needs of survivors
the Republican congressional leadership is pursuing
reconciliation legislation that could only worsen
their plight with cuts to Medicaid, food assistance
and other benefits," the coalition wrote.

Click below for full story...

Class issues

National Public Radio (NPR)
October 12, 2005


This is NEWS & NOTES. I'm Farai Chideya.

All this week we're focusing on wealth, how money and
power play out in the lives of the poor, the middle
class, and those who've reached millionaire status. We
kick off this special series of roundtables with a
look at the realities and stigmas that face poor
Americans. The debate over Katrina has focused on
whether what happened in New Orleans was a result of
race or class. We'll address this question and others
with our special panel.

Joining us from member station KQED in San Francisco,
Lisa Garcia-Gray, also known as Tiny, one of the
founders of POOR Magazine; Purdue University sociology
professor and author of "The Cost of Being Poor,"
Sandra Barnes, is at member station WBAA in West
Lafayette, Indiana; and at member station WGBH in
Boston, Brown University professor of economics Glenn
C. Loury.

Click below for full text...


PNN is a multi-media access project of POOR Magazine,
dedicated to reframing the news, issues and solutions
from low and no income communities, as well as
providing society with a perspective usually not heard
or seen within the mainstream media.

Click below for the latest issue of Poor Magazine...

New Orleans: Leaving the Poor Behind Again!

October 11, 2005

No Jobs, No Healthcare, No Justice
New Orleans: Leaving the Poor Behind Again!

They are doing it again! My wife and I spent five days
and four nights in a hospital in New Orleans after
Hurricane Katrina. We saw people floating dead in the
water. We watched people die waiting for evacuation to
places with food, water, and electricity. We were
rescued by boat and waited for an open pickup truck to
take us and dozens of others on a rainy drive to the
underpass where thousands of others waited for a bus
ride to who knows where. You saw the people left
behind. The poor, the sick, the disabled, the
prisoners, the low-wage workers of New Orleans, were
all left behind in the evacuation. Now that New
Orleans is re-opening for some, the same people are
being left behind again.

When those in power close the public schools, close
public housing, fire people from their jobs, refuse to
provide access to affordable public healthcare, and
close off all avenues for justice, it is not necessary
to erect a sign outside of New Orleans saying "Poor
People Not Allowed To Return." People cannot come back
in these circumstances and that is exactly what is

Click below for full story...

[This Story Promotes Displacing The Poor - Taking
Housing From The Poor Is No Solution.]
Study Released on Poverty in the U.S.

By Juliana Barbassa / Associated Press
October 12th, 2005 2:39 pm

SAN FRANCISCO -- Many of the country's most
disadvantaged minority households are trapped in
pockets of concentrated urban poverty, preventing them
from getting the educations and jobs that would enable
them to rise above the poverty line.

Fresno, Calif., has the nation's highest concentration
of residents in extremely poor neighborhoods,
according to a study released Wednesday by the
Brookings Institution, the Washington, D.C., think

New Orleans, second on the list, had its deep racial
and economic rifts exposed by Hurricane Katrina. But
according to the Census-based research, the
deprivation seen in that city's lower Ninth Ward is
closely mirrored by conditions in parts of Louisville,
Ky., Miami, and Atlanta, which round out the report's
top five list.

Poor planning over decades has concentrated public
housing at the core of cities around the nation, while
new developments, jobs and schools mushroomed in the
suburbs, beyond the reach of low-income households,
deepening the divide between the haves and the
have-nots, the study said.

"Concentrating poverty compounds the effects of just
plain poverty," said Alan Berube, primary author of
"Katrina's Window: Confronting Concentrated Poverty
Across America."

Berube's study focused on extremely disadvantaged
neighborhoods where high crime and a lack of quality
housing, stable job opportunities and supportive
schools erode the quality of life, and limit the
chances that a family might rise above the hardships
imposed by their own financial straits.

These are areas in which 40 percent or more of
residents live below the federal poverty line. The
average household earnings in these areas barely
exceed $20,000, and four in 10 adults are disconnected
from the labor force _ unemployed and not looking for

"We're underserved, under-respected. ... You have to
leave your community to get the most basic services,"
said Rev. Paul Binion II of Fresno's Westside Church
of God.

One result of high-density poverty is its tendency to
ensnare the next generation, the study suggests. In
these communities, where an average of one in 12
adults have college degrees, children lack the money,
role models and academic footing that would help them
get into college themselves.

"It's access," said Tate Hill, business development
coordinator for the Fresno West Coalition for Economic
Development. "It's not that people who live in
impoverished areas don't want to work or don't want
better lives or don't want their children to go to
good schools _ they just can't access it."

Atlanta is one of the cities where a concerted effort
has been made to dissolve pockets of poverty.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
tore down some of the city's worst projects and
replaced them with mixed-income neighborhoods in the

But the successful program, created under the first
Bush administration and supported by President
Clinton, has been hurt by the current president's
budget cuts, Berube said.

"For a significant number of families in distressed
inner-city neighborhoods, the first step has to be
removing the barriers associated with their living
environment," Berube said.

Associated Press Writer Giovanna Dell'Orto contributed
to this report from Atlanta.

[Hope Vl Program Steals Housing From The Poor.]
New projects signal different era in public housing

Kansas City Star - Oct 11 5:56 PM
ST. LOUIS - Housing officials praised two new St.
Louis public housing developments that broke ground
Tuesday as social and economic models for the future,
a radical departure from the high-rises of the 1950s
and '60s that stacked "poor people on top of one

Click below for full story...

Woman awarded $80,000 in housing discrimination

Wisconsin State Journal - Oct 11 10:57 PM
A DeForest woman has settled her race discrimination
complaint against a Dane County landlord for $80,000,
the largest settlement ever reached by an individual
client of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing
Council and its satellite, the Fair Housing Center of
Greater Madison, her lawyer announced Tuesday.

Click below for full story...

Fair housing program at risk

Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Oct 12 1:34 AM
BRADENTON -- The city may stop investigating
complaints of housing discrimination after its program
failed to meet the conditions of the federal grant
that funded it.

Click below for full story...

Katrina evacuees still in need of Texas homes

News 8 Austin - Oct 11 7:53 PM
Many of the 400,000 Hurricane Katrina evacuees are
still living in motels and hotels. Tuesday, housing
experts from around the state got together to find a
permanent solution to the housing needs...

Click below for full story...

[Landlords Remain Outraged At Not Being Enriched By
Katrina Catastrophe]
Housing Aid Called Too Much, Too Little
FEMA Critics Cite Waste as Evacuees Strain to Pay Rent

By Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 12, 2005; Page A06

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's evolving
efforts to shelter Hurricane Katrina victims continue
to waste huge amounts of taxpayer dollars and could
soon leave many evacuees short of money and facing
eviction, according to renter advocates and housing
industry officials.

The concerns focus on FEMA's extension of an $8.3
million-a-day program to house 549,000 people in hotel
rooms beyond an Oct. 15 deadline and its handling of a
new rental assistance program, which offers displaced
families a lump sum of $2,358 for three months' rent.
The disaster agency has previously drawn criticism for
its troubled $1 billion-plus effort to house hurricane
evacuees in 125,000 trailers.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition, an advocacy
group, said that because the rent program is based on
the $786-per-month national median rent for a
two-bedroom apartment -- rather than city-by-city
rates used by the Department of Housing and Urban
Development -- many evacuees taken to more costly
cities are already short on cash. Typically, the
coalition said, renters must pay a deposit and first
month's rent; it cited Washington as an example, where
the average rent is about $1,100 and where about 5,000
people have been resettled.

Apartment owners say they also are encountering
problems collecting rents because FEMA hands money
directly to storm victims, instead of using housing
vouchers or payments to landlords as HUD does for some
low-income renters. Some families that left their
homes with only what they could carry have used FEMA's
cash for food, clothing and transportation.

"We felt if we did the right thing, FEMA would step up
and provide housing assistance for all these folks.
Here we are four weeks later, and a lot of these folks
simply do not have rent money to pay," said Kirk H.
Tate, a member of Houston's Katrina housing task force
and a partner at Orion Real Estate Services Inc.,
which manages 12,000 apartments in the city.

Houston authorities welcomed 20,000 Katrina households
into rental units in as few as three or four days,
mostly waiving deposit and rent requirements, Tate
said. "The last thing we want to have to do is ask for
them to move out when they can't pay the rent," he
said, but property owners have mortgages, utilities
and expenses to pay and may need to start eviction
proceedings by month's end.

The warnings come as a wide range of players in the
nation's housing and lodging industries express
mounting exasperation with FEMA's shifting efforts to
cope with the evacuee crisis. Although the
administration has proposed cruise ships, trailers,
President Bush's nascent "urban homesteading"
initiative, hotels and now apartment grants, they say
FEMA is ignoring advice from experts inside and
outside the government.

"The normal FEMA programs just aren't working. They
may be good for 1,500, 2,000 people, but when you're
talking a half a million, they do not work," said
Douglas S. Culkin, executive vice president of the
National Apartment Association.

Culkin said 1 million rental units are vacant in the
southeastern United States at half the rate of FEMA's
$1,770-a-month hotel program. He called the current
spending rate of $250 million a month "a horrendous
waste of tax dollars."

Linda Couch, deputy director of the low-income housing
coalition, agreed that taxpayer money could be saved
by using vacant apartment units. "If the federal
government made a choice to subsidize them at the
rents they are available at, it looks like it still
would be less than having them live in a hotel," she

FEMA spokeswoman Nicol Andrews said that the agency's
rental aid program can be extended to 18 months. If
renters keep receipts and show that their housing
costs exceed $786 month, FEMA will allow them to spend
more on rent, Andrews said. But Congress has set a
$26,200 limit per family for FEMA aid of all kinds,
including home repairs, for Katrina victims.

The scale of Katrina's exodus is immense and growing.
On Thursday, FEMA's acting director, R. David
Paulison, increased the agency's estimate of the
number of families expected to need housing for up to
several months, from 300,000 to between 400,000 and

FEMA said Friday that the number of people in
temporary shelters, which Bush has pledged to clear by
mid-October, has fallen to 31,500 from a peak of more
than 300,000. FEMA is providing rental assistance to
412,000 displaced households and has registered 2
million storm victims.

Last week, three major national apartment owner
associations criticized FEMA for ignoring their offers
of help and expressed bewilderment over why the agency
extended the hotel program. The average room rate of
$59 per day is more than twice the cost of rental
vouchers in HUD's low-income Section 8 housing program
and the rental aid provided by FEMA and HUD to Katrina
victims. It also exceeds the median monthly rent in
some of the nation's most expensive cities.

The groups cited 50,000 vacant apartments in
Dallas-Fort Worth alone and 1 million in the
southeastern United States at rents that range from
$700 to $1,200 a month-- vacancy totals confirmed by
others outside the industry.

"Our message is simple. There are currently tens of
thousands of available rental units that would offer
evacuees the opportunity to more quickly recover from
their devastating losses," the National Multi Housing
Council, the National Apartment Association and the
National Leased Housing Association wrote to HUD
Secretary Alphonso Jackson and Homeland Security
Secretary Michael Chertoff. "To extend the hotel
program indefinitely prolongs homelessness and makes
no sense," they said.

About 37,000 evacuees are in Dallas area hotel rooms,
said Miller, and more than 150,000 evacuees are in
rooms across Texas.

Click below for full story...

Hurricane Helper Draws Fire

By Patrick May
Mercury News
Posted on Wed, Oct. 12, 2005

FRESNO - Mayor Alan Autry, best known for his role as
lawman Bubba Skinner on TV's ``In the Heat of the
Night,'' has been taking heat of a different kind

When he realized how badly Katrina victims in his home
state of Louisiana were hurting, Autry rushed to the
Gulf Coast, media in tow, schmoozing through the
shelter circuit and inviting hundreds of newly
homeless to Fresno. After all, many of those hugging
him and asking for his autograph had been loyal Bubba

``By supporting my show, they helped put food on my
table,'' the mayor said this week. ``Now they were the
ones suddenly without food -- or even a table. I had
no choice but to help.''

But instead of a hero's welcome back home, Autry
returned here to accusations of political
grandstanding, complaints about going off half-cocked
and criticism that his offer to solicit survivors
would only put more stress on an already strained
human-services safety net.

Click below for full story...

Fresno 1st in urban poor, new study says

Arizona Daily Star - Oct 12 12:34 AM
SAN FRANCISCO - Many of the country's most
disadvantaged minority households are trapped in
pockets of concentrated urban poverty, preventing them
from getting the educations and jobs that would...

Click below for full story...

Wait for public housing can last more than two years

Newport News-Times - Oct 12 9:04 AM
The waiting time to get into subsidized housing in
Lincoln County ranges from six months to more than two
years, depending upon the subsidy program involved and
the size of the family, according to figures from the
Housing Authority of Lincoln County.

Click below for full story...

Harkin: Tighten housing rules

The Des Moines Register - Oct 12 12:32 PM
Sen. Tom Harkin plans to ask Congress to enact tighter
eligibility rules for subsidized housing in the wake
of reports that scores of college students are living
in low-income projects intended for poor families.

Click below for full story...

---HR 1999 & S. 771 is the Kiss of Death to the
Section 8 Program for the Poor---

HR 1999 a.k.a., SLHFA
State and Local Housing Flexibility Act of 2005
(Introduced in Senate)
Click below for HR 1999...

[Bill Summary & Status]
Title: To better assist low-income families to obtain
decent, safe, and affordable housing as a means of
increasing their economic and personal well-being
through the conversion of the existing section 8
housing choice voucher program into a flexible voucher
program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep Miller, Gary G. [CA-42] (introduced
4/28/2005) Cosponsors (6)
Related Bills: S.771

Latest Major Action: 5/11/2005 House
committee/subcommittee actions. Status: Committee
Hearings Held

Click below for Bill Summary & Status...

S. 771 a.k.a., as SLHFA
State and Local Housing Flexibility Act of 2005
(Introduced in Senate)
Click below for S. 771 ...

[Bill Summary & Status]
Title: A bill to better assist low-income families to
obtain decent, safe, and affordable housing as a means
of increasing their economic and personal well-being
through the conversion of the existing section 8
housing choice voucher program into a flexible voucher
program, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Allard, Wayne [CO] (introduced 4/13/2005)
Cosponsors (None)
Related Bills: H.R.1999

Latest Major Action: 4/13/2005 Referred to Senate
committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the
Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.

Click below for Bill Summary & Status...

Storm-relief efforts also might benefit homeless

Tennessean - Oct 12 12:17 AM
Months before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck,
volunteer searchers found 6,251 homeless people were
living in the coastal areas of Louisiana, Texas,
Mississippi and Alabama.

Click below for full story...

1 in 400 in U.S. is homeless, study says

The Indianapolis Star - Oct 12 1:15 AM
Months before Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck,
6,251 homeless people were found living in the coastal
areas of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

Click below for full story...

Beaumont, Texas, apartment managers evict tenants

By Beth Gallaspy
The Beaumont Enterprise (Texas)
October 12, 2005

BEAUMONT -- Managers of damaged Towne Oaks Apartments
in Beaumont gave residents two days notice to get out
by sundown Sunday, a move local officials call illegal
and problematic at a time when rental units in the
city are scarce.

A contractor at the complex at 6550 Lexington Drive on
Sunday estimated that 60 percent of the 180 units are
uninhabitable due to roof and water damage from
Hurricane Rita, which struck more than two weeks ago.

Attempts to reach apartment management by phone Sunday
were unsuccessful.

No one was at the office.

Resident Shelli Broussard, 32, said she could see no
damage to her apartment.

"It just smells moldy. I don't really understand it.
Two days. I'll just do what I've been doing, stay with
family and friends," said Broussard, an administrative

After two weeks with no work and no paycheck,
Broussard planned to return to her job Monday.
Instead, she said, she'll need an extra day to finish

Betty Davis evacuated to stay with family in Breaux
Bridge, La., and had made one trip back to clean out
her apartment refrigerator. When she got back Friday,
she thought she was coming home. Instead, she started
an unsuccessful search for storage space.

With nowhere to put her furniture, Davis planned to
leave it behind and head back to Louisiana.

Click below for full story...

CBPP Conference Call Briefing Oct 14: To Meet Katrina
Families' Needs, Changes Needed in New Housing Plan

10/12/2005 12:09:00 PM

To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor

Contact: Shannon Spillane of The Center on Budget and
Policy Priorities, 202-408-1080 or spillane (at)
Web: or Web:

News Advisory: Conference Call Briefing

To Meet Katrina Families' Needs, Changes Needed in New
Housing Plan

CBPP Conference Call Briefing


Barbara Sard, Housing Policy Director, CBPP

Candy Hill, Senior Vice President for Social Policy,
Catholic Charities USA

Register on Web:

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 14, at 11 a.m. (ET)


The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will hold a
media conference call briefing on Friday, October 14
at 11 a.m. (ET) to discuss a new Center paper that
analyzes the Bush administration's transitional
housing plan for Katrina survivors and offers
recommendations on how the program should be modified
and strengthened.

After some false steps focused on building "trailer
cities," the Administration has adopted a new plan
that employs rental housing assistance as the primary
means of helping displaced families to secure
transitional housing, but does so outside of the
successful Section 8 housing voucher program. As of
October 6 -- more than five weeks after Hurricane
Katrina hit the Gulf Coast -- about 60,000 people
remain in mass shelters, and 435,000 are in temporary
hotel accommodations.

The first part of the new plan offers rental housing
assistance through FEMA's Individuals and Households
Program. FEMA has approved expedited cash payments
(intended to be used for rent) for more than 400,000
families under IHP. The second part of the
Administration plan affects about 50,000 households
that were living in HUD-subsidized housing or were
homeless prior to the hurricane. These families are
being helped under a temporary HUD program, the
Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Program, which has
a structure like Section 8 but offers less help to the
lowest-income families and more generous assistance to
somewhat better-off families.

The Center study finds that the amount of assistance
under these two programs is insufficient for some
families because the assistance fails to cover utility
costs or to account for the needs of people with
disabilities. In addition, for many families receiving
IHP rental assistance, housing will remain unstable,
because the duration of the assistance is uncertain.
Some families also will need counseling to help them
relocate. The study includes specific recommendations
to address these issues.

After opening remarks, the panelists will take

To participate, please register by e-mailing
spillane (at), or calling the media team at
202-408-1080. Media may register online at

Search Produces a Wealth of Data About Homeless

Martin Kasindorf
October 12, 2005

Two searchers kayaked down California's Napa River to
scope out hidden encampments. Elsewhere in Napa
County, the homeless and hungry were invited to a
county-sponsored chicken barbecue where they could be

City-paid decoys dressed in ragged clothes sprawled on
Manhattan steam grates, waiting to see whether
volunteers stopped to interview them.

Los Angeles County spent $72,000 to hire 629 homeless
people at $10 an hour to ferret out their brethren in
alleys and oceanfront parks.

Click below for full story...

Across U.S., students misuse low-income housing

The Des Moines Register - Oct 10 2:14 AM
Hundreds, and likely thousands, of taxpayer-subsized
apartments are occupied by college students across the
country for little to no charge, tightening the
availability for a growing number of Americans who
need it. Stricter federal eligibility requirements
have had little success in preventing students,
including scholarship athletes, from qualifying. HUD:
Athletes didn’t meet guidelines •

Click below for full story...

Low-income residents can get help

The Eureka Reporter - Oct 02 5:46 PM
For the past 60 years the Housing Authority of Eureka,
later joined by the Housing Authority of Humboldt
County, has aided low-income county residents in
finding affordable housing.

Click below for full story...

County lags behind in serving homeless

Potomac News - Oct 11 11:22 PM
The number of homeless people in the county has
hovered around 500 over the last several years. In
2004, 530 homeless people lived in the county,
according to a report compiled by the Metropolitan
Washington Council of Governments.

Click below for full story...

[Seniors Screwed Without Elevator]
Fairbanks public housing building elevator out for
least a month

KTVA - Oct 11 12:02 PM
According to the Associated Press, the only elevator
at a four-story public housing building in Fairbanks
won't be fixed for weeks. And that has prompted
officials to call in help to lug groceries and other
big-ticket items for residents.

Click below for full story...,1413,163~34723~3088812,00.html

[Democrat Pushing For Surveillance Of The Poor]
SAN FRANCISCO / Mayor wants wider surveillance program

San Francisco Chronicle - Oct 12 3:42 AM
Mayor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that he wanted to
expand the surveillance camera program that has been
operating on a test basis in the Western Addition to
other neighborhoods. Police have reported a drop in
violent crime of at least 20 percent in the...

Click below for full story...

Roll Back The Rents

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