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Evacuees With Recent Felonies Don’t Qualify for Public Housing

No one can convince me that the media is innocent in letting their bias seep through their reporting.  Here is how a recent article about Hurricane Katrina evacuees started out:

OMAHA, Neb.The CEO of Omaha’s Open Door Mission is frustrated that the mission is helping evacuees who have been turned away by the Omaha Housing Authority.

Reading that first paragraph made me wonder why evacuees were being turned away - it actually angered me (my first thought was - how dare red tape get in the way of getting these people homes!).  Here’s more concern, a la Open Door Mission’s CEO:

Many who have been turned away by OHA have headed to the Open Door Mission, which is already crowded.

"We’ve had about 50 over the last two to three weeks," said the Open Door Mission’s Candace Gregory. "It’s frustrating that we have all of this housing available, that’s public housing. I wish it was available to everyone."

Of course it is frustrating.  How DARE the OHA turn people away?!?!?  Oh, but then the truth comes out:

OHA Executive Director Brad Ashford said those failures relate primarily to criminal history.

"There are 23 people who have failed the background check, so we can’t place them in public housing," Ashford said. "Certainly, any type of drug offense or a violent felony, or any felony really, if it’s committed within three years."

Ashford said OHA cannot make exceptions for evacuees for the safety of the residents who are already there.

So, because of their criminal behaviors in the past, it has become a challenge to find housing for the evacuees.  It is NOT because the OHA is being negligent or unfair and it certainly isn’t because they are evacuees.  It is because they committed criminal offenses.  Even if New Orleans had never been damaged by Hurricane Katrina, these evacuees would have been limited in their abilities to obtain certain jobs, get qualified for certain public assistance.  All because they CHOSE to commit a felony - a number quite violent or dangerous in nature (drug charges, violent felonies - would you want these folks living in your apartment complex or your back yard?). 

And the kicker - all but one of these 50 people have been found housing through other means.  Which leads me to wonder why this woman is complaining to start with. 

Call me cold-hearted, call me ruthless.  Or don’t.  Bottom line, we should do everything we can to help the victims of this disaster - WITHIN THE GUIDELINES OF COMMON SENSE.  If the OHA had placed these felons into public housing, the media would have reported on the horrific choices of the OHA to put others in harm’s way and the law suits would have been flying regarding preferential treatment so this is by far a better solution. 

The media is so focused on finding "the story" that they seem to make a big deal out of events that aren’t such a big deal.  Why can’t the media report on the valiant volunteer efforts, the happy endings, the efforts to rebuild and reclaim life as it was? 


Weekend Excitement

A Husker fan cannot help but mention the nail-biter game from this weekend.  After DOUBLE-OVERTIME, and lengthy amounts of time standing on the couch yelling at the big screen, we saw ANOTHER Husker victory - bringing our record to 4-0. 

GO BIG RED!