What is going on in this world? How are they ever going to be able to give this much money 35, 000, 100,000, 150, 000 dollars back to the government? They want to take away their homes so that a corporation keeps it stock prices nice. Nice. I am so sad. And how can Nagin look at the incredilbe homeless population and say that the answer is to make it illegal to sleep in public areas? How does that solve the homeless problem? I cant imagine how can he sleep at night? Well, I guess he is sleeping in a house.
10. KATRINA VICTIMS MAY HAVE TO REPAY MONEY ( GULF COAST , U.S. )
By John Moreno Gonzales
The Associated Press
Sunday 30 March 2008
New Orleans – Imagine that your home was reduced to mold and wood framing by Hurricane Katrina. Desperate for money to rebuild, you engage in a frustrating bureaucratic process, and after months of living in a government-provided trailer tainted with formaldehyde you finally win a federal grant.
Then a collector calls with the staggering news that you have to pay back thousands of dollars.
Thousands of Katrina victims may be in that situation.
A private contractor under investigation for the compensation it received to run the Road Home grant program for Katrina victims says that in the rush to deliver aid to homeowners in need some people got too much. Now it wants to hire a separate company to collect millions in grant overpayments.
The contractor, ICF International of Fairfax, Va., revealed the extent of the overpayments when it issued a March 11 request for bids from companies willing to handle “approximately 1,000 to 5,000 cases that will necessitate collection effort.”
The bid invitation said: “The average amount to be collected is estimated to be approximately $35,000, but in some cases may be as high as $100,000 to $150,000.”
The biggest grant amount allowed by the Road Home program is $150,000, so ICF believes it paid some recipients the maximum when they should not have received a penny. If ICF’s highest estimate of 5,000 collection cases – overpaid by an average of $35,000 – proves to be true, that means applicants will have to pay back a total of $175 million.
One-third of qualified applicants for Road Home help had yet to receive any rebuilding check as of this past week. The program, which has come to symbolize the lurching Katrina recovery effort, is financed by $11 billion in federal funds.
ICF spokeswoman Gentry Brann said in an e-mail Friday that the overpayments are the inevitable result of the Road Home grant being recalculated to account for insurance money and government aid given to Katrina victims.
Brann said there was a sense of urgency in paying Road Home applicants, and ICF and the state knew applicants would have to return some money.
“The choice was either to process grants immediately or wait until the March 2008 deadline (for submitting Road Home applications) before disbursing any funds,” Brann said in her e-mail.
Brann pointed out that 5,000 collections cases would represent a 4-percent error rate for the Road Home that is “quite good for large federal programs.”
Frank Silvestri, co-chair of the Citizen’s Road Home Action Team, a group that formed out of frustrations with ICF, sees it far differently.
“They want people to pay for their incompetence and their mistakes. What they need to be is aggressive about finding the underpayments,” he said. “People relied, to their detriment, on their (ICFs) expertise and rebuilt their houses and now they want to squeeze this money back out of them.”
The prospect of Road Home grant collections comes less than two weeks after the Louisiana inspector general and the legislative auditor said they were investigating why former Gov. Kathleen Blanco paid ICF an extra $156 million in her waning days in office to administer the program. With the increase, ICF stands to earn $912 million to run Road Home, a contract that also sweetened its initial public stock offering, and helped it buy out four other companies. It now reaches into government contracting sectors that include national defense and the environment.
Paul Rainwater, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority, the state body that asked for the Blanco-ICF investigations, acknowledged the collections could be painful for applicants, many of whom have used up their nest eggs to rebuild.
“The state must walk a fine line of treating homeowners who have been overpaid with fairness and compassion and ensuring that all federal funds are used for their intended purpose,” said Rainwater, an appointee of new Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Upon receiving money from Road Home, grantees sign a batch of forms, including one that says they must refund any overpayments.
Melanie Ehrlich, co-chair of Citizen’s Road Home Action Team, which has documented Road Home cases that appear littered with mistakes, said she had no confidence that ICF had correctly calculated overpayments. She charged that the company was more likely using collections as retribution against people who had appealed their award amounts in effort to get the aid they deserved.
“I think they are looking for ways to decrease awards and that’s part of dissuading people,” she said.
Brann said applicants are told an appeal could boost or diminish their award. She called Ehrlich’s charge “a totally unfounded assertion.”
11. NEW ORLEANS HOMELESS RATE SWELLS TO 1 IN 25 ( NEW ORLEANS , LA )
By Rick Jervis, USA TODAY
NEW ORLEANS — The homeless population of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina has reached unprecedented levels for a U.S. city: one in 25 residents.
An estimated 12,000 homeless accounts for 4% of New Orleans ‘ estimated population of 302,000, according to the homeless advocacy group UNITY of Greater New Orleans. The number is nearly double the pre-Katrina homeless count, the group says.
‘ROUGH GOING’: Homeless still feeling Katrina’s wrath
The New Orleans ‘ rate is more than four times that of most U.S. cities, which have homeless populations of under 1%, said Michael Stoops, executive director of the Washington-based National Coalition for the Homeless. The cities with homeless rates closest to that of New Orleans are Atlanta (1.4%) and Washington (0.95%), he said.
A USA TODAY 2005 survey of 460 localities showed one in 400 Americans on average were homeless.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin appealed to federal lawmakers this past week to provide funds and housing vouchers to help the city’s homeless problem.
The percentage of New Orleans’ homeless is one of the highest recorded since U.S. housing officials began tracking homelessness in the mid-1980s, said Dennis Culhane, a University of Pennsylvania professor who has studied homeless trends for more than 20 years.
“In a modern urban U.S. city, we’ve never seen it,” he said of New Orleans ‘ homeless rate.
Many of the homeless are Katrina evacuees who returned to unaffordable rents or who slipped through the cracks of the federal system designed to provide temporary housing after the storm, said Mike Miller, UNITY’s director of supportive housing placement.
There are also out-of-state workers who came for the post-Katrina rebuilding boom but lost their jobs, and mentally ill residents in need of services and medication, he said. Many of the city’s outreach homeless centers and public mental health services have been closed since Katrina.
Nagin has pledged to move the homeless from encampments around the city to more permanent shelters. Last year, the city and humanitarian groups found shelter for nearly all of the 250 people living in an encampment across from City Hall.
Nagin has suggested reinstating a city ordinance that would make it illegal to sleep in public places. Homeless advocates say the law would just crowd the jails.
“It just shows a real disconnect” between the city and the problem, said James Perry, head of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. “The answer is not going to be jails.”
Letter to Black America on Palestinian Rights & June 10 March
On 15 May 2007, 22 Black American professors, writers, religious figures, and other leaders issued a call to Black America to join in the June 10 March and rally, and break the silence on the injustices faced by the Palestinian people.
To Black America :
It is time for our people to once again demand that the silence be broken on the injustices faced by the Palestinian people resulting from the Israeli occupation.
On June 10th, the national coalition known as the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (endtheoccupation.org) will be spearheading a march and rally to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
We, the signatories of this appeal, ask that Black America again take a leading role in this effort as well as the broader work to bring attention to this 40 year travesty of justice.
United Nations resolutions have called for the Israeli withdrawal, yet the Israeli government, with the backing of the USA , has ignored them. The Israeli government has appropriated Palestinian land in open defiance of international law and overwhelming international condemnation.
Within the USA anyone who speaks in favor of Palestinian rights and justice is immediately condemned as being allegedly anti-Israel (and frequently allegedly anti-Semitic), shutting down legitimate discussion. A case in point can be seen in the current furor surrounding former President Jimmy Carter who was criticized for his assertion in his best-selling book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, that Israeli obstructionism lies at the root of the failure to achieve a just Palestinian/ Israeli settlement.
As Nobel prizewinner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written, “People are scared in the US , to say ‘wrong is wrong,’ because the pro-Israeli lobby is powerful–very powerful. Well, so what? For goodness sake, this is God’s world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists.”
Many of those who most outspokenly agree with President Carter and Archbishop Tutu are American Jews. And many American Jews, including the national organization Jewish Voice for Peace, will be among those rallying for Palestinian rights on June 10th – as will many other Americans, including member groups of the leading anti-war coalition United for Peace and Justice.
Leaders from Black America have repeatedly and historically been among the most outspoken proponents of justice for the Palestinian people. Our leaders have defended the Palestinian people’s right to full self-determination and an end to the Occupation as central to peace in the region. Our leaders have not criticized the Jewish people but they have expressed outrage at the Israeli government that collaborated with the apartheid South African government (including in the development of weapons of mass destruction) and emulated South Africa ‘s treatment of its Black majority in its own treatment of the Palestinian people.
As we struggle to build our country’s support for Palestinian human rights, we widen the door for both Arab and Black Americans to deal with the issues that join them together, as well as those that separate them. We will help to energize – and to heal – both communities.
June tenth and Juneteenth: will our struggles lead the way to a new emancipation of others? Our own integrity as a people, let alone our own experience with massive injustice and oppression, demand that we step forward, speak out, and insist on a change in US policy towards the Palestinian people. Since when have an illegally occupied people been wrong in demanding and fighting for their human rights and land? Since when have such people and their cause not been worthy of our support?
Please join us on June 10th!
Signed by (affiliation for identification purposes only)
· Salih Booker, former Executive Director of Africa Action
· Khephra Burns, author, editor, playwright
· Horace G. Campbell, Professor of African American Studies and Political Science
· Dr. Ron Daniels, President, Institute of the Black World 21st Century
· Bill Fletcher, labor and international activist, and writer
· George Friday, United for Peace and Justice Co-Chair, National Coordinator, Independent Progressive Politics Network
· Rev. Graylan Scott Hagler, Senior Minister, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ; National President, Ministers for Racial, Social and Economic Justice of the United Church of Christ
· Mahmood Mamdani, Herbert Lehman Professor of Government in the Departments of Anthropology, Political Science and Public and International Affairs
· Manning Marable, Professor of Public Affairs, Political Science, History and African-American Studies
· George Paz Martin, National Co-Chair of United for Peace and Justice and Green Party U.S. Activist
· E. Ethelbert Miller, literary activist; board chair, Institute for Policy Studies
· Prexy Nesbitt, speaker and educator on Africa , foreign policy, and racism
· Barbara Ransby, Associate Professor of History and African-American Studies
· Cedric Robinson, Professor, Department of Black Studies
· The Rev. Canon Edward W. Rodman MDiv.LCH,DD. Professor of Pastoral Theology and Urban Ministry at the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Ma.
· Jamala Rogers, Black Radical Congress
· Don Rojas, former director of communications for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
· Zoharah Simmons, human rights activist
· Chuck Turner, Boston City Councilor
· Hollis Watkins, Former Freedom Singer and staff member of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee; human rights activist (1961 – present)
· Dr. Cornel West
· Emira Woods, co-director, Foreign Policy In Focus, Institute for Policy Studies
so i said ‘yes’ to going to the undoing racism training in chicago. i am not sure why i said yes except that i am very curious about what is going to be presented. and yes curiosity killed the cat but ive got 9 lives and got to use them up some how.
and plus i wanted to see some friends.
i also realized that that i love my live. not because it is fabulous. it isnt. but because it is precious. a little sappy…okay…lets just say that my life to me is a highly valuable process. and a lot of fun. and the whole idea of being ‘that white chick’ while i may not have the energy to perform it for three days at an undoing racism workshop, would make an excellent 3 minute performance piece. or better yet a zine.
when you are kicked out of a country and have to start your life back over again, i think it is a good idea to do what you love the for the most part. all of those you’s are addressed to me…first. me first…did i mention that i am most likely having an aries child?
The following is an excerpt from the book “Understanding The Connections between Black and Aboriginal Peoples”
The Blakk Indian Hiphop Connection and modern day Blakk Indian realities (Toronto, San Francisco)
One group of students were asked whether they lived in a single-sex or coed dorm. Previous studies found even this benign question unconsciously activated male and female stereotypes, McGlone said.
or two years, i volunteered with a peace and social justice, christian non -profit org . for a year and a half i was the ‘undoing racism’ and ‘undoing sexism’ trainer for the organization. i was that chick. that black chick. i had to quit.
so now 9 months after i left cpt , they have extended an invitation to the latest ‘undoing racism retreat workshop’ in chicago. god help me. goddess throw a girl a bone.
cause i need to take off my ‘native informant‘ hat. i could chose not to go. that is the sane option. the only problem is that my friends are going to be there and i dont know when i will see them next. i am like ribbons tied on a pole blowing in the wind.
the other option is to go to the workshop. and refuse to be a native informant. actually i was thinking of going and identifying as white.
then i could be ‘that white chick’.