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FEMA And Bush Administration: Screw The Poor!

Remember those toxic FEMA trailers? Looks like folks in Mississippi hoping for more affordable housing to be built so that they can start to get back on their own feet again will have to keep on waiting.

The Bush Administration and FEMA — along with former RNC head turned lobbyist turned Governor Hailey Barbour — just said screw the poor, let’s build more casinos and luxury accommodations. Again. I’m not kidding. Via Digby:

While thousands of Mississippians who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina remain in FEMA trailers, the federal government on Friday approved a state plan to spend $600 million in grants earmarked for housing on a major expansion of the state-owned port — a project that could eventually include casino and resort facilities.


The money in question is part of $5.5 billion in HUD Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) that Congress authorized for Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005. Administered by the Mississippi Development Authority, about $3.4 billion was allocated to replace and repair some of the nearly 170,000 owner-occupied homes destroyed or damaged by the storm. Another $600 million was set aside for programs to replace public housing, help small landlords fix their units and foster construction of new low- and moderate-income housing.

Scout Prime has more. Well, what’s wrong with being stuck in FEMA trailers because there is no where else to move to that these folks can afford? Here’s what’s wrong:

FEMA "ignored, hid and manipulated government research on the potential impact of long-term exposure to formaldehyde" on Katrina and Rita victims now living in the FEMA trailers, the congressmen wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, whose department includes FEMA.

Reps. Brad Miller (N.C.) and Nick Lampson (Tex.) cited agency documents given to Congress in alleging that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — generally considered a repository of nonpartisan scientific expertise — was "complicit in giving FEMA precisely what they wanted" to suppress the adverse health effects….

"Honest scientific studies don’t start with the conclusion, and then work backwards from there," Miller said….

"For those who are too poor to live elsewhere, FEMA’s position remains as it was in 2006: there are no possible adverse health effects that can’t be cured by opening the windows," they added.

So, in sum, if there is no affordable housing because the grant money set aside for building it has been sucked up by big money donor casino interests, and if there is nowhere else for the very poor to live because said affordable housing does not exist in their location, and said very poor have no means of transportation to go elsewhere…it’s okay if they are trapped in a carcinogenic, toxic trailer provided knowingly by our own government who has spent more effort suppressing evidence of the formaldehyde toxicity and protecting it’s own employees from said toxicity than they have trying to resolve the lack of enough housing problem for their fellow Americans in need. Does that about cover it? (All of the preceding links in this paragraph are YouTubes from testimony and press briefings on this issue. And all are appalling.)

(H/T to reader WB.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com