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Conservatively liberal, moderately well-educated, and highly opinionated...

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rolling Up Our Sleeves (Again)

On December 1, hurricane evacuees have to be gone from the temporary hotel rooms. (Actually, FEMA will just stop paying for them…).

"FEMA-Think" says that three months is plenty of time to find a job and get going. The evacuees still in these rooms just need a motivational “nudge”.

Will this help get people back on their feet? No.

Yes, it's true that people can’t “live” a normal, productive life out of a hotel room. (Ask any frequent traveller.) However, the evacuees who could get out of the hotels have already done so; those who have not, can not… at least, not on their own.

There are as many individual reasons for the remaining needs as there are people still in hotel rooms, and while the Washington Post’s article this morning illustrates several examples, those are just the tip of the iceburg. (Somebody should let that guy know that Algiers is okay…)

Americans have stepped up to the plate everywhere over the last 2 1/2 months, reaching out to hundreds of thousands of people. Texas, in particular, has gone to extraordinary lengths, but even here
we’re not ready to move everyone out.

Folks, it’s time to roll up our sleeves in the private sector again. Before FEMA cuts off the spigot, we’re going to have to step into the gap. We’ve passed the point where mass solutions will help. FEMA – the quintessential bureaucratic behemoth – is not equipped to address the needs at an individual level, and that's what is called for now.

This was never a sprint; it’s a marathon, and we need a second (third? fourth?) wind to make this happen.

Otherwise, this is likely to be really ugly.