Wednesday, March 15, 2006

NY STATE help for Katrina victims needed

[ I just got this from PDA, Progressive Democrats for America -- it requires action for New York staters. Please FORWARD widely. - Mary ]


Congress acted responsibly following Katrina

In September 2005, Congress passed the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Response and Recovery Act of 2005 (TANF), authorizing access to $2 billion to help hurricane victims scattered across the country. Over 1,500 Katrina families were relocated to New York. Most of them remain in New York and are facing hotel evictions and homelessness.

Wait a minute!

The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA), the agency responsible for obtaining the funds, NEVER requested any of the funds from TANF on behalf of these Katrina families.

For the evacuees still in New York, the amounts to which they remain entitled are badly needed. The funds could prove invaluable to securing an apartment lease, buying food and clothing, and providing sufficient breathing room to look for employment and/or receive job training. This money is rightfully theirs and should be used to help them get back on their feet. New York state remains eligible to distribute up to $488 million to evacuees from the federal contingency fund.

A spokesman for the OTDA gave as an explanation for the non-request: "The administrative effort would have been onerous for a small amount of reimbursement. It was just not worth it. It would have been a nightmare." The federal Health and Human Services Department, which is overseeing the funding distribution, has given assurances that the request process is neither burdensome nor onerous. Many other states have successfully completed the process.

Take Action

Let Robert Doar, Commissioner of the OTDA, know how you feel about this outrage. Please send an email today to

DEMAND that he request the already allocated funds on behalf of Katrina evacuees--individuals who are likely to remain in New York for the remainder of 2006 and much longer, and
DISTRIBUTE those funds to these families in need as soon as humanly possible. It's a hand-up not a hand-out.

Thank you for taking action!

In peace,
Tim Carpenter
Executive Director
Progressive Democrats of America

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