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They plaqued New Orleans for decades, skewed our stats, made us look like a poor Southern city, ate all of our government money, slaughtered our educational scores, and gave us the highest murder rate year in and year out. Now, Houston, is getting tired. Guess what...they aren't going to come back to New Orleans. They've found another home. Here, in New Orleans, we no longer call them evacuees. We now call them citizens of another city. At this point, just about everyone that has planned to come back is already here, outside of maybe 50,000 to 75,000, based on everything we know here..and almost 100% of these individuals are homeowners who are still dealing with their flooded properties. Good luck Houston...maybe you can do better than we did...we tried for years. Do I sound cold? I don't really mean to...I know that these are American citizens, but, they are a troubled population. We love all who call this city home, but, I would be lying if I stated that we want them back. These individuals drained our resources for years and years....

Signs of 'Katrina fatigue' in Houston
Survey shows stresses from absorbing 150,000 from storm



09:32 AM CDT on Saturday, April 15, 2006
By BRUCE NICHOLS / The Dallas Morning News


HOUSTON – For property manager Marcia Clark, the thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina still in Houston are "like a relative that came to visit and stayed too long."

"You still feel like they're family," she said as she waited to collect rent for housing some of them. "But ... can we just go back to the way it was? You're tired."

Reports of increased crime, fights in schools and landlords getting paid late have left some in Houston wondering whether Dallas Mayor Laura Miller was right to be cautious in welcoming evacuees.

A recent survey found signs of "Katrina fatigue" among Houstonians, and officials acknowledge stresses associated with an estimated 150,000 evacuees, many of them needy, still burdening public services.

With the Federal Emergency Management Agency pushing to phase out subsidies, local officials – who acknowledge government can't support evacuees forever – express concern about the neediest. "We don't know where they're going to go," said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

That was one of the questions that troubled Ms. Miller as she tried to limit Dallas' response while Houston Mayor Bill White and Harris County Judge Robert Eckels threw open their arms.

"You can't give a long-term solution if you're bringing in more than you can handle," Ms. Miller said. "I admire that Houston took in so many people. I also know that they're struggling."

Houston officials say the city handled as many as 300,000 evacuees at the peak and, given time, will cope with challenges associated with winding down the program.

"I am concerned about it," Judge Eckels said. But if it all happened again, "We'd still be a good neighbor."


Good and bad

The survey by Rice University sociologist Stephen Klineberg questioned 765 Houstonians from mid-February into early March. Ninety-seven percent said that Houston had come together to help, but 76 percent cited strained city services and 66 percent an increase in violent crime.

Forty-seven percent said the overall effect of evacuees had been bad compared with 36 percent who saw it as good. The margin of error was 3 percentage points.

"There's that feeling of 'enough already,' and there's anxiety about being stuck carrying the economic burden," Dr. Klineberg said.

New Orleans native LaMont Moore, now living and looking for a job in Houston, has felt the negative vibes.

"They heard on TV, you had a so-called criminal element that came ... that these people are taking our resources" he said. "That led to people having a bad taste in their mouth."

Homicides are, in fact, up – whether it's 25 percent as headlined in the Houston Chronicle recently or 14 percent as claimed by the mayor's office.

The Harris County Hospital District is awaiting reimbursement for more than $11 million in medical care for needy evacuees. Schools are struggling to serve storm-stressed New Orleans kids who already were behind.

There's been resentment among the homeless already in Houston that the newcomers have received preferential treatment, which officials deny.

The additional homicides have been concentrated in two of the city's 24 police districts, where many evacuees settled into apartments, but problems aren't widespread, said Frank Michel, spokesman for the mayor's office.

"They were high crime areas before the hurricane," he said. "They continue to be. ... But we have a plan to get hold of this, and we don't think people across Houston need to be alarmed."

Police Chief Harold Hurtt is battling a surge in officer retirements and using overtime and staff realignments to take care of the problem. Mr. Michel said the city expects federal reimbursement to cover the costs.

As for the hospital district, spokesman Bryan McLeod said most of the health-care tab was incurred while evacuees were still in the Astrodome.

"There were 2,000 patients that first 24-hour period," he said. "That's a lot to add to normal operations ... but really FEMA isn't the issue for us because ... we're more confident we're going to get reimbursement from Medicaid."

Since September, when the district's clinics and hospitals were serving 200 evacuees a week, the number has dropped to 30 to 40, he said, "and we've absorbed it pretty easily into our standard patient flow."


School experience

Schools have had a tougher time.

With more than 22,000 displaced New Orleans students in Houston schools, "it's been very, very rough," said Gayle Fallon, president of the Houston Federation of Teachers, who cites the special needs associated with children from a troubled system traumatized by disaster.

Houston school districts have been promised additional federal aid, she said, but "we're talking major remediation to bring them up to speed. We're talking major medical counseling services. And the one that scares everyone in Houston is what happens in August, just when school's starting, and the FEMA money runs out. Thousands of families on the streets is really scary."

The sense of urgency is apparent among the 300 people still working at the Joint Hurricane Housing Task Force to forestall a surge in homelessness.

"It's become personal to me," said team member Belinda Luna, who has worked with landlords and evacuees since September."

Ms. Luna said she's energized by having helped build the equivalent of a $400 million company that within months will be dismantled. "Even though there's a lot of cleanup to do, I think it's awesome the way that we've been able to come to this point," she said.

"A key factor in the response is, 'There but for the grace of God go we,' " said Dr. Klineberg, who did the survey, referring to Houston's own vulnerability to hurricanes.

Apartment manager Kit Snyder said she had some problems with the process. But evacuees filled empty apartments, and her experience generally was good. Would she house them again? "Absolutely," she said.

Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt predicted good feelings will trump bad in the long run. "The fact is there's been a tremendous amount of economic activity ... in the last six months," he said.

Part of it is high oil prices, Mr. Bettencourt said, but much of it is the effect of new residents because of Katrina.

"The vast majority ... are involved in raising a family, starting a business, working for an energy company," he said. "They're going to be part of the Houston economy for years to come."


Staff writer Emily Ramshaw contributed to this report.


E-mail [email protected]

HOUSTONIANS SOUND OFF ON STORM EVACUEES


Rice University sociologist Stephen Klineberg has been surveying Houston attitudes for 25 years, adding Katrina-related questions this year.

Survey subjects were asked if they agree or disagree with the following statements:

The Houston community really came together to help the evacuees.

97 percent agreed

2 percent disagreed

1 percent didn't know

Helping the evacuees has put a considerable strain on the Houston community.

76 percent agreed

21 percent disagreed

4 percent didn't know (exceeds 100 percent because of rounding)

A major increase in violent crime occurred in Houston because of the evacuees.

66 percent agreed

26 percent disagreed

8 percent didn't know

Survey subjects were asked their opinion in response to the following statements:

On balance, would you say the overall impact of evacuees on Houston has been a good thing for Houston or a bad thing?

36 percent said good

47 percent said bad

17 percent didn't know.

Do you think Houston would ultimately be better off or worse off if most of the evacuees decided to stay?

23 percent said better off

49 percent said worse off

28 percent didn't know

The survey was sponsored by a consortium of foundations, corporations and individuals. Selected at random, 765 people were reached by telephone between Feb. 13 and March 22. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


SOURCE: Rice University survey


http://www.wwltv.com/sharedcontent/...atigue_15tex.ART.North.Edition2.22d38ca9.html
 

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You make it sound like NO is the only place that have these people. Doesn't every city have a portion of poor and troublesome people? I'm sure Houston and all other cities have their own share of this type of people and didn't have the problems you said NO had. So why do you think NO suffered so much more than everybody else because of them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We've had wayyyyy more than than norm here...we've got plenty of poor back, but, not what we used to have...New Orleans has had inner city issues for years. It's no secret. There are other cities. But, we have been cleansed of "some" of those ills and it's somewhat refreshing, now that we can allocate some of our funds to other areas than supporting these individuals. It was too much for New Orleans. We had more than the average for a long, long time and anyone who has studied urban culture knows this to be true for New Orleans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you....I think it's the boiled crawfish that they can't give up...and the generous Uptown money that has always seemed to take care of them!!! LOL
 

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Yeah well thats what we get for being generous... Anyhow, were use to getting other citie's poor & uneducated. Alot of nothern cities "ship" via Greyhound alot of the Untouchables of our society here before winter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
We have alot of "street" people show up in New Orleans every Winter, as well, HoustonTexas. The whole point is that there is a segment of the American population that is truly vulnerable. Katrina has revealed how large of a segment existed in New Orleans. They were the ones that we all saw on TV being saved by helicopters from roofs. I feel for Houston, but, there's no way around this situation...you all acquired a good percentage of our urban ills. The money is what came back..you know why?!...because they had money. And the poor that came back...they had the common sense to figure out how to get back home.
 

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i'm not too concerned about the shit the evacuees are pulling here becuase as time goes on and they become acclimated to houston, things will level off. houston has far more money and better job oppurtunities than new orleans ever did to compensate those ills.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
jmancuso said:
i'm not too concerned about the shit the evacuees are pulling here becuase as time goes on and they become acclimated to houston, things will level off. houston has far more money and better job oppurtunities than new orleans ever did to compensate those ills.
Yes...Houston is a larger city than New Orleans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It may come across as cavalier, but, unfortunately it is the truth...it would do no one any harm or good if the truth wasn't presented as it is...all of my posts are simply straightforward, whether they are negative or positive. No one said everything is pretty, Canonized. There are quite a few studies out there that back up exactly what I've stated, and if anyone were to try to deny it, they'd be doing these people more of an injustice than good. Reality is reality.
 

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Sean you missed my point. I was being sarcastic there. I was just making a little joke about how you're often treated on this board. Two murders last night in New Orleans... some of them must be trickling back. I wouldn't talk too soon about this. Our criminal justice system is in shambles, and crime is, in fact, on the rise. Nowhere near what it was before, but still rising. I doubt it will ever be as bad as it was. There's a new emphasis on what's important here... namely education. If we don't fix that, believe me, the crime will return one day. Keeping the lower class uneducated and uninformed kept the politicians in office. Those days are over.
 

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why do they stay on welfare? is it really that hard to find a job? there is plenty of work here, mowing lawns, construction, fabrication shops, or are they just lazy?
 

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^^^ Yep lazy. If latin Americans who don't even speak English can come into this country illegally, with all the dangers that entails, and find some kind of work and live off it it, its pretty hard to sympathise with these folks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Cannonized said:
Sean you missed my point. I was being sarcastic there. I was just making a little joke about how you're often treated on this board. Two murders last night in New Orleans... some of them must be trickling back. I wouldn't talk too soon about this. Our criminal justice system is in shambles, and crime is, in fact, on the rise. Nowhere near what it was before, but still rising. I doubt it will ever be as bad as it was. There's a new emphasis on what's important here... namely education. If we don't fix that, believe me, the crime will return one day. Keeping the lower class uneducated and uninformed kept the politicians in office. Those days are over.
I gotcha...there's only one real loser from San Antonio, I think, that is made fun of on quite a few boards that gives me a hard time, but, thanks for looking out for my back. Truth be told, whether anyone wants to make fun of us or not, but, it's very obvious that we are trying to bring this city back, but, New Orleans is headed to being broke...it would happen in any city, but, you can't make any city work that is used to having 450,000 people and it presently has 225,000...we're going broke!!!
 

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Marjorie Fair said:
Not really alon but continue to dream away.
How is that statement incorrect?
New Orleans now has over 200,000 people back, and most projections have the city with a population between 250K-300K in the next few years. If he wanted to be overly-optimistic about New Orleans' future population, then he wouldn't have said that most who want to return already have.
 
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