Monday, October 13, 2008

The Turmoil After the Storm

It's been 3 + weeks (is it only 3 weeks???) and Houston is trying to get back to normal. That's Houston, it will take Galveston years to get back to normal.

Almost everyone in Houston has power again and the traffic lights work. The streets are piled head high with stacks of branches, tree trunks and assorted destroyed flora. It's depressing to say the least.

The folks who have been hard hardest are as always, "the little people". I'm one of the lucky ones, I Iwas off work for 7 days but still collected a paycheck. Some businesses were closed for as long as 2 weeks and many of them couldn't or didn't pay their employees. People who make minimum wage, the day laborers who stand on the street corner and the bus boys in the kitchen couldn't work and didn't get paid. Those folks, who live pay check to pay check are really, really hurting.

Texas is offering up extra food stamps but the food stamp allowance is paltry at best and it doesn't go far.

One of the apartment complexes in my school's attendance zone had the roof ripped off. I took one of the students home last week and suddenly found myself in an alternate universe. The tenants don't have money to rent a motel room or to move. Furniture was piled up under the "covered parking" and ruined possessions were piled around in heaps and stacks. The place still doesn't have power and the roof was made of blue FEMA tarps. Pieces of the ex roof littered the court yard. The complex has an absentee owner who, as long as he gets his rent money does not appear to be in any hurry to get the repairs up and going. Texas Laws favor the landlord totally. Amazingly the tenants must pay their rent, even though their apartments are barely livable.

That just seems downright wrong. This is American isn't it?

2 comments:

School said...

I'm lucky too!So hard after the storm but at least the worst is over.

melscales said...

I've had a similar experience with the kids at my school. Isn't it amazing how their lives are so different from ours? It makes me ashamed of myself for so many things. And it makes me want to get up and do something to make their lives more like my own kids' lives.