Tuesday, November 01, 2005

CityBusiness: HUD plays fast and loose with homeless

HUD officials tried to pull off an $11.4 money grab from humanitarian New Orleans operations after Hurricane Katrina.

Before floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina had even been drained from New Orleans and much of southeast Louisiana, Martha Kegel, executive director of nonprofit Unity for the Homeless, tried to assist hundreds of thousands of newly homeless people.

She knew $11.4 million in grants had already been approved for use in New Orleans by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2004. But James Johnson, assistant director of community planning and development for HUD’s regional office in Fort Worth, Texas, said the funds were unavailable and might be reallocated elsewhere.

“The presumption was we wouldn’t be needing them anymore because there weren’t any more homeless in New Orleans,” Kegel said.
Typical bureaucratic thinking, but still hard to believe.

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