PICO Katrina update

colist at comm-org.wisc.edu colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Sun Jun 18 10:43:37 CDT 2006


From: "PICO Louisiana" <jjonesb at piconetwork.org>

Yesterday President Bush signed an emergency spending bill that
includes $4.2 billion to fully fund Louisiana's Road Home
housing plan, $3.7 billion for additional levee repairs and
$400 million for Katrina Cottages. The approval of this funding
is a great victory after months of pressure by PICO and others
on Congress and President Bush to fully meet their commitments
to the region.

Under the Louisiana Road Home plan homeowners who lacked
insurance will receive as much as $150,000 to safely rebuild
their homes or relocate. Louisiana will use some of the federal
block grant funds to build or restore 31,000+ affordable rental
apartments. Congress also approved a $400 million pilot program
that will allow private agencies to apply for financing to build
"Katrina Cottages" as alternative to small and expensive FEMA
travel trailers.

The decision to compensate uninsured homeowners and provide
funds for rebuilding housing reflects a consensus that the
devastation that followed Katrina and Rita was the direct result
of design and construction flaws in the Federal levees meant to
protect the region and the belief that with careful planning New
Orleans can be safely rebuilt.

PICO LIFT is disappointed that Congress cut $100 million in
rental housing assistance that would have helped build 13,500
apartments for the lowest-income victims of Katrina. It is wrong
to ignore the needs of low-income families and a mistake to
neglect the shortage of affordable rental housing in the state.
PICO LIFT will continue to work at a state and local level to
assure that housing funds reach those with the greatest need, so
that every family that wants to is able to return home.

On behalf of the 100 congregations and tens of thousands of
families that are part of PICO LIFT I want to express our
profound gratitude to the thousands of PICO leaders, clergy and
friends from across the country who helped press the case for
justice for Louisiana and the Gulf Coast. Your efforts in
writing letters and making phone calls to the offices of 86
Senators and 248 Representatives and meeting with key
Congressional Committee Chairs, such as Congressman Jerry Lewis,
and with Appropriation Committee Members and their staff played
an important role in this victory.

In September 2005 PICO LIFT launched Rebuilding Louisiana as a
major organizing drive to assure that low and moderate-income
families have a powerful voice in how Louisiana is rebuilt and
are able to hold local, state and national officials accountable
for transparency, equity and results in funding and planning
decisions. Over the coming years we will continue to fight so
that promises made are promises kept.

Best wishes,

Rev. Jennifer Jones-Bridgett
Executive Director
Louisiana Interfaiths Together (PICO LIFT)

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