FEMA -- still screwing up, according to The Washington Post:
...FEMA initially ordered 125,000 trailers that it planned to deploy as close as possible to affected cities, following a playbook the agency relied on after four Florida hurricanes and its New Orleans exercise last year. In the days after Katrina hit, FEMA officials ... hoped to install 30,000 homes every two weeks and planned vast campuses of as many as 15,000 units, according to various media reports.
Testifying to Congress last week, David Roberson, speaking for the Manufactured Housing Institute, noted production capacity limits and said that the industry built 130,000 homes in all of 2004.
Therefore, as the story says, the order for trailers "may take as long as 12 months to fill."
Wouldn't it have been nice if someone at FEMA had a frigging clue about how fast these manufactured homes could be built before a decision was made to rely on them so heavily?
But there is a Plan B:
On Sept. 14, a unanimous Senate adopted an alternative to trailers, providing $3.5 billion in HUD rental vouchers to Katrina victims -- as much as $10,000 each for 350,000 families -- for six to 12 months.
A House proposal for 50,000 vouchers is pending, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said.
That should be expedited right away, no? Er, no:
GOP sources say they are waiting for a response from the Bush administration, which one official said is not expected until mid-October.
That's right: mid-October. Maybe Bush should be his own FEMA director -- he's already got the dawdling down pat.
Oh, but there's a reasonable explanation:
The topic is politically sensitive. In his 2006 budget, Bush proposed ratcheting back the HUD Section 8 housing voucher program for the poor as well as related community programs.
See, if you're the president, it's much more important to stick to your political guns than to find a way to house hundreds of thousands of homeless citizens -- isn't it?