Homeless Katrina Survivors

Table of contents
1. Introduction
2. The ineffectiveness of the existing programs in relation to homeless Katrina survivors
3. Increasing funding of public housing as the solution to the problem
4. Conclusion
5. References

Katrina was probably one of the largest natural disasters that have ever struck the US. This hurricane was extremely disastrous and it practically swept out such large city as New Orleans. At any rate, this is exactly what homeless Katrina survivors could think of after the hurricane. In fact, these people have survived the terrible hurricane to face another, not less serious problem, the problem of their physical survival while they have practically lost any hope to reestablish normal life or start a new one. Basically, for the overwhelming majority of homeless Katrina survivors the life is divided into two distinct parts before and after the hurricane. Even though the life before the hurricane was far from perfect for the majority of them, it had become practically unbearable just after Katrina had struck.
Nowadays, they are homeless and totally dependent on charity and state support while they can hardly start a new life on their since they do not have neither physical nor psychological forces to continue this permanent struggle for the survival because they do not have homes, stable income, and real support from the part of a state or any sort other institutions. In such a situation, the current policy and existing programs targeting at the solution of the problem of homeless Katrina survivors prove to be totally ineffective since what they have got after the hurricane is basically provisional housing and there is no long-run programs that can guarantee their stable life in the future in their own homes. At the same time, Katrina has revealed a serious problem of the lack of public housing, which could apparently solve the problem of homeless Katrina survivors and provide them with an opportunity to start a new life in new homes.

The ineffectiveness of the existing programs in relation to homeless Katrina survivors
First of all, it should be said that a considerable part of the population of New Orleans was dramatically affected by the hurricane but the most affected part were representatives of lower classes, which economic position and social status were low. It is not a secret that a large part of poor population of New Orleans was African-American ethnic group, which was affected probably most severely by the hurricane. At the same time, the problem of the lack of housing became a really interracial problem and affected representatives of all ethnic groups, though, due to the low socio-economic position, the majority of victims of Katrina were African-Americans and they still constitute the majority among homeless Katrina survivors (Mowbray, 2005).
At the same time, the poor economic position and low social status is probably the largest obstacle on the way of homeless Katrina survivors to start a new life after the disaster. In fact, poor survivors cannot afford building new houses, acquiring new houses, or simply moving to other parts of the US where they could find a new home at their relatives, for instance, and gradually build their own homes. Neither of these solutions is appropriate to them because they cannot afford them because of the lack of sufficient income to fund building of new houses.
In such a situation, the state and public support seems to be the only possible solution of the problem of homeless Katrina survivors. In fact, it is obvious that commercial organization will not sponsor building new homes for a large number of homeless survivors since they cannot pay for it. The situation is deteriorated by the fact that the majority of homeless survivors cannot count for insurance which they did not have at all. Consequently, the state and public support is the last hope of these people to get new homes.
However, the existing programs prove to be ineffective because, in spite of all efforts from the part of the state and public support, thousands of Katrina survivors are still homeless. To put it more precisely, FEMA’s hotel program was initially supposed to be a short-term solution. As a result about 26,000 people faced a real threat of being simply thrown out in streets after the expiration of this program (Mowbray, 2005). Furthermore, the trailers, where many people were placed, were not simply unsuitable for a long-term residing but, what is more, they were even dangerous for the long-term housing. In this respect, it should be said that these flimsy trailers cannot be used in the hurricane-prone Gulf Coast since they can be easily destroyed by another strike of nature, i.e. another hurricane which should not be even as strong as Katrina was.
Increasing funding of public housing as the solution of the problem
In the result of the ineffectiveness of the existing programs, the need to apply a different approach to the solution of the problem of homeless Katrina survivors is obvious. At the same time, it is necessary to underline that the hurricane has revealed a more serious problem than the problem of the homelessness in the particular region but it has revealed the extent of this problem in terms of the entire nation. It proves beyond a doubt that the problem of homeless Katrina survivors is basically the problem of the unwise policy of the government in relation to its citizens since there is no long-term programs, while instead, the government should invent short-term solutions for the concrete problem the US faced in New Orleans.
In such a situation, it is obvious that it is extremely important to develop alternative solution of the problem of homeless Katrina survivor to the provisional measures discussed above. In actuality, this means that the government should have a long-term program that could really solve the problem of homelessness in terms of the US at large and due to this it will be much easier to solve the problem of homeless Katrina survivors since, if there was such a program, it would be possible to redirect funds to finance building of new houses for the victims of the hurricane in a relatively short term.
Practically, the alternative solution to the existing programs is the development of public housing that implies a long-term program targeting the real solution of the problem of homelessness due to the building of houses for people in need, which cannot afford the building themselves. As a result, homeless Katrina survivors would have a chance to receive new houses in terms of this program since they are the victims of the natural disaster and, if the public housing was well-financed and well-developed, their problem would be solved in a long-term.
Naturally, this program needs a substantial funding from the part of the government and it may be very expansive compared to its alternatives but the latter are less effective, if not to say ineffective at all, compared to public housing. To put it more precisely, possible alternatives, such as the use trailers, hotels, and other similar measures are provisional and cannot be applied in a long-term. This means that sooner or later Katrina survivors either will need to buy or build houses of their own, which they cannot afford, or, otherwise, they will become really homeless without even a provisional shelter for trailers may be simply destroyed by another hurricane, while hotels need proper financing from the part of the government.
Thus, homeless Katrina survivors are in a really desperate position. The existing solutions of their problems are absolutely ineffective since they are provisional. Moreover, even though they seem to be cost saving, in a long-run, the existing programs will be very expansive. For instance, if the FEMA’s trailers are destroyed it will be necessary to acquire new ones instead. In such a situation, the development of public housing may be a really effective measure since this will provide homeless survivors with normal houses where they can start a new life without a fear of being thrown out or becoming homeless in the result of a new disaster. Moreover, public housing may accomplish the existing programs, which have provided people with provisional shelter, suggesting instead homes people can use in a long-run.

Baker, P. and Goldstein, A. "Congress Approves $51.8 Billion For Victims." Washington Post. September 9, 2005.
Bourne, J. K. "Gone with the Water." National Geographic. October 2004.
Drye, W. "Hurricane Katrina Pulls Its Punches in New Orleans." National Geographic. August 29, 2005.
Leben, R., et al. CU-Boulder Researchers Chart Katrina's Growth In Gulf Of Mexico. University of Colorado at Boulder. 2005.
Mowbray, R. "Evacuations to hotels come with own set of hazards." Times-Picayune. August 30, 2005.
Rulon, M. and Scott, K.H. "Evacuation plan failed to consider those without transportation." Burlington Free Press. March 11, 2006.

Our services