Friday, April 14, 2006

FEMA: Still a Disaster

WaPo: Waste in Katrina Response Is Cited
Housing Aid Called Inefficient in Audits

Nearly eight months after Hurricane Katrina triggered the nation's largest housing crisis since the Second World War, a hastily improvised $10 billion effort by the federal government has produced vast sums of waste and misspent funds, an array of government audits and outside analysts have concluded.

As the Federal Emergency Management Agency wraps up the initial phase of its temporary housing program -- ending reliance on cruise ships and hotels for people sent fleeing by the Aug. 29 storm -- the toll of false starts and missed opportunities appears likely to top $1 billion and perhaps much more, according to a series of after-action studies and Department of Homeland Security reports, including one due for release today.


Only 71 percent of the 141,000 trailers that FEMA estimates are needed are being occupied.

Meanwhile, the trailer program consumes more than 60 percent of funds FEMA is spending on housing aid -- even though it benefits about 10 percent of the approximately 1 million households getting help, according to agency data and the Brookings Institution, which tracks recovery progress.

By contrast, a rental assistance program is serving 800,000 families, or 80 percent of households, at about one-third the total cost, or more than $3 billion. []


Neither FEMA nor its predecessors had ever housed hundreds of thousands of disaster victims for a prolonged period, and the collapse of its initial trailer strategy is part of what Dennis S. Mileti, former director of the National Hazards Center in Colorado, called "the largest disaster-response failure in the history of our country."

I guess since Bushco has wasted more than a billion dollars in their disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina, it's time for another tax cut for millionaires.

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