It has been inspiring that so many nonprofits, churches, individuals and city/county staff and departments stepped up to help flood victims. The real challenges come ahead of us when funds run low and most residents return to normal life.
Normal life is not possible in the immediate future for many, and the solutions to their problems are not going to be easy. Housing has been a challenging issue before the flood and is now a huge problem. Finding a home to rent is proving difficult for those who have the financial resources. For low-income families, it is an almost unimaginable challenge — a challenge made worse by the continuing disparity in income and wealth and widespread underpayment of wages.
Maybe not a great solution, but what about the infamous FEMA trailers that we heard about after Katrina?
The city is looking at buying the property where the Royal Trailer Park was located. We certainly do not want to place low-income or any families in harm’s way. Trailer parks have been an option that has worked for many. Might the city consider trading some open space property for the Royal Trailer Park property?
Are the large chain hotels/motels willing to provide some free rooms for several months?
Adding to the problem is the shutdown of the government, which will reduce incomes and purchasing power of some of our residents and reduce sales tax collections as well as business at most stores. The various types of help that Congressional and Senate offices provide will not be available. It appears that much-needed work on roads conducted by National Guard members might not paid for by the federal government.
One lesson from the flood is that we do need to support the housing and human services nonprofits.