Facing South reported earlier this month about the struggle by New Orleans advocates to keep a $76-million Katrina aid package from being axed from the supplemental spending bill for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The bill has been going back and forth between the House and Senate for the past few months, and much of the domestic funding is at risk for being cut again. This week the bill is back in the Senate and is expected to go up for a vote tomorrow.
In light of this, advocates in Mississippi are asking their senators to reinsert the request for $20 million for project-based Section 8 vouchers in Mississippi into the bill before resubmitting the Senate's version to the House. Advocates argue that these funds would enable Mississippians to continue to work toward recovery.
"This is needed funding to help with housing and case management," Mary Troupe, executive director of the Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities, told Facing South. "It's for the hardest hit cases on the coast. People with barriers, senior citizens and people with disabilities who do not have the funds to move out of their FEMA trailers. FEMA is requiring them to evacuate the trailers and there is no housing for people to move into. We also need funds to get special case management workers to work with these individuals."
Troupe explains that the struggle for including this domestic funding has been a regional effort by lawmakers and advocates in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to support recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast. The $76 million New Orleans aid package would secure 3,000 permanent supportive housing vouchers for the state of Louisiana, and the $50 million Alabama aid package would go into a community development fund.
advocates are encouraging concerned citizens to call in to their senators' offices in order to save the funding on the Senate side.