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Why So Few?

September 5th, 2005

Yesterday I posted a link to a huge list of law schools opening their doors to students evacuating from Tulane and Layola. Seems like almost every top-tier school in the country, and many not so top-tier, are accepting anywhere from 5 to 50 students, rather impressive when you think about it. So why are so few states stepping up to care for the rest of the evacuees (they are not, for the record refugees in the modern sense of the word). Here is the complete list of states offering temporary housing:

  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Arizona
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Tennessee
  • Colorado
  • Washington

That is eight states in total. Out of a possible 50!!! Everyone talks about America’s renowned charity, our churches and volunteer aid programs. It is commonly cited as justification for our rather pathetic government-sponsored social safety network. Personally, I think government coordinated aid programs are much better than volunteer based programs. Not to discount what the volunteer programs like Red Cross accomplish, it’s just that governments (when run properly) are in a more informed position to determine the proper disposition of limited resources.

But that’s not the system we have here in the States (FEMA aside) so victims must rely on the voluntary charity of others. So where is it?! Why are there only eight states stepping up to provide space for these people? Why is the entire East Coast absent from the list?

As an aside, one of the great advantages of the American system is that it does not have a single point of failure… when FEMA dropped the ball, other independent organizations are able to pick up the slack. In my opinion, this kind of independent networking approach is critical to all policy making decisions.

On a related noted, I read an interesting article that I can no longer find about the rebuilding of New Orleans and how the city will change. The point they made is that many of the areas inhabited by the city’s poor will have to be demolished as the areas are now uninhabitable. But don’t think for a moment that the area buildings will be replaced with similar dirt-cheep housing. It is hard to build dirt-cheep housing and make your money back. You can build “affordable housing” which may cover some of the city’s poor, but certain not all of it. The end result is that the poor (read blacks) of the city will be forced into areas outside of the city limits where housing costs are lower, recasting the population of New Orleans and creating an entirely gentrified metropolis.

probonogeek Uncategorized

  1. srcastic
    September 6th, 2005 at 21:39 | #1

    Not sure where you got that list of states from, but I understood a lot more states to be welcoming people. You leave off New Mexico, which is mentioned here, and Michigan announced that they would take displaced people before Washington did. Missouri and Illinois are converting the Mid America (or East St. Louis) airport to take in about 10,000 of the displaced, and San Francisco (and thus California) have agreed to take some in too. I question the source which says such a few number of states have stepped up, as I am inclined to believe that many more actually have.

  2. Sean Kellogg
    September 8th, 2005 at 00:08 | #2

    That’s quite a bit of links Sam, I’m impressed. My list came from the Seattle Times, who reported in from FEMA. And certainly FEMA has its set of problems these days :)

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