Sunday, December 16, 2007

Home for the Holidays

Just when you think it can't get any crazier, the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the US has actually approved plans to demolish existing low-income housing and apartments that survived hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The claim is that the buildings are unlivable and that the new housing will be "mixed income" (read: co-op) and could take two years to build.

Structural engineers, legal experts and local residents have all been in the building. They are not unlivable, they are in need of cleaning and small renovation such as baseboard replacement and floor tile repair.

The continued displacement of New Orleans residents over two years after the hurricanes is akin to Terry Gilliam's powerful film, Brazil. The bureaucracy and apathy residents are facing when attempting to get what is theirs from their local, state and federal governments along with such organizations as the Red Cross, is faulty by design. This type of behaviour is not only meant to block access to programs and activities available, but in fact to deter anyone from attempting to make changes at all.

While we absorb hard-hitting news stories about which toys are most popular and which contain the most lead this year, I'm gratified to know that the US government is doing precisely what it was designed to do.

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