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September 2005
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September 27, 2005
Maybe they should have asked first.
FEMA is trying to find housing for 200,000 families displaced by Katrina. They ordered 125,000 trailers (mobile homes) which they were going to put as close as possible to the affected cities. Now, you may think (and I'd join you) that putting large numbers of people in mobile homes in an area prone to flooding, hurricanes, and tornadoes is perhaps not the brightest idea you've ever heard. But it doesn't really matter, because it turns out that the entire manufactured housing industry only produced about 130,000 homes during the entire year of 2004, or about 2500/week. FEMA was hoping(!) to install 30,000 trailers every two weeks. Do these people ever visit reality?

On the other hand, the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has identified 65,000 housing units which could be used immediately, and rental rates are at historic lows (adjusted for inflation). So the Senate acted (and good for them!)-- unanimously! -- to provide $3.5B in HUD housing vouchers to Katrina victims. A similar House proposal is pending, sponsored by the Democrats. House Republicans are waiting for marching orders from the White House. The Bush administration is showing their characteristic urgency on policy matters: the GOP official said they're expecting a response in mid-October.