Disability Advocates Criticize FEMA's Slow Housing
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 13, 2005
BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI--Several Mississippi disability advocacy groups on Wednesday criticized the federal government for its slow response in providing adequate housing for people with disabilities.
Advocates representing the Mississippi Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc., the Arc of Mississippi, the University of Southern Mississippi and Living Independence for Everyone gathered for a press conference to draw attention for the need for accessible temporary housing.
Becky Floyd, executive director of MPAS, said that more than 20 people in South Mississippi need trailers that are wheelchair-accessible, but that only two have received them in the six weeks since Hurricane Katrina devastated the area.
"They're so overwhelmed by all of it that they just lose our people with disability," Floyd said of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "They haven't been organized enough to have a certain group of people to handle the special needs people."
Stan Cramer, FEMA's local public information officer, told the Sun Herald: "It's difficult to find travel trailers outfitted for the disabled."
"But all special needs people are on a priority list," Cramer said. "We're certainly aware of special needs people needing housing, and we're doing everything possible to find and deliver trailers to everyone who needs them."
Floyd told WLOX-TV: "It's difficult for everyone, but it's particularly difficult for people with disabilities. It's very important for FEMA to understand that people with disabilities need shelter. It's more difficult for them to live in shelters, in tents or in other people's homes."
"Groups Blast FEMA For Failing The Disabled" (WLOX-TV)
"Disabled need handicapped-accessible trailers" (Sun Herald)
Other disability stories related to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are available on today's Below the Fold Page: