Thursday, September 22, 2005

Clueless About Poverty
Lessons from Katrina


Polls show sizable numbers of Americans agree that taking care of Katrina's impoverished victims is a priority. Bushies tell us help has finally arrived. There are a few problems of comprehension, however, as is noted in the WP this morning:


"Ebony Turner, a New Orleans health technician, struggled to keep her optimism but frustration had her near tears. She was staying at a temporary shelter -- a Motel 6 -- in Lewisville, Tex., which has a black population of 7 percent and is 22 miles from downtown Dallas. Officials from federal, state and private agencies were set up at the Dallas Convention Center to help her access the services she needed, but Turner was having a difficult time connecting her needs with their suggestions.
"She was told she could get food stamps. "But, Miss," Turner pleaded, "where are we going to cook the food? We're in a shelter." She was told she could get unemployment benefits, that a letter could be mailed to her in two weeks. "Miss, where are you going to send the letter when I don't have an address?" She was told she was eligible for a low-interest federal loan. "Miss, how am I going to pay it back to you? I don't have nothing."


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