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The Astrodome is housing 15,000 evacuees displaced by Hurricane Katrina, some of whom were frantically searching for lost family members. Similar evacuation villages are planned at Reliant Center, which will hold up to 11,000 people, and the George R. Brown Convention Center downtown.

INSIDE THE DOME

Serious concerns, meager comforts

Many stressed by overcrowding, malfunctioning bathroom facilities

By ANNE MARIE KILDAY and SALATHEIA BRYANT

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Under the expanse of the Reliant Astrodome's massive roof, a small metropolitan area as populated as Bellaire or Stafford has sprung up.

Welcome to Dome City. Population: 15,000, big enough for its own newly created ZIP code

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Quote from the Houston Chronicle:

"Local law enforcement agencies have assigned roughly 500 officers to the Reliant complex and surrounding neighborhoods, but they have made few arrests, said Assistant Chief Brian Lumpkin of the Houston Police Department. Police made six arrests in the area last night, including one for a felony assault. The rest were misdemeanors, he said.

Police also reported that crime is down city-wide this weekend, Bettencourt said."

Crime is down? Interesting. And good news.

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This looks like a better home for this article.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/topstory/3342643

This article was updated at 12:07 pm, and they repeat that the overnight population is 8,066. It grows during the day, when more people show up to eat, apply for housing, aid or jobs, and possibly to see the doctors.

If that many people have found housing with friends and family, that is a good sign. It is much easier to assist the evacuees with applications for aid, etc., than to assume all responsibility for housing, feeding, etc. It is also easier on the ones who have nowhere to go, if the shelter is less crowded at sleeping time.

I hope this trend continues. I'm sure the evacuees agree.

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In an update to the previous article, posted at 2:50 pm, the Chronicle added this tidbit:

"The opportunities to leave are growing by the day. Airlines are offering free or discounted flights to evacuees, friends and relatives are arriving to whisk them away, and today's decision by the federal government to pass out $2,000 debit cards will pay for gasoline or bus tickets that were out of reach before."

That could go a long way towards getting people out of a shelter and onto their own two feet. I'm sure many of these evacuees had nothing more than the donated clothes on their backs. No job back home, no place to live, no way to get there. This should help immensely.

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I previously posted this article on $2,000 debit cards for evacuees.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/3343475

Scott McClellan said it would help encourage evacuees to get out of shelters and into more permanent housing, a goal of everyone involved in the effort. However, there was this quote from Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski:

"Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski, a Republican, said he had concerns about the potential for abuse.

"That's a lot of money. The question is how do you separate the needy from those who just want a $2,000 handout," he said."

Where is Alaska, you ask? Why that is that state up north with one half the population of the New Orleans metro area...in the entire state. And he should know about the potential for abuse. His state is the recipient of $231 MILLION for the construction of a bridge to an island with 50 inhabitants. For those who are weak in math, that works out to $1448 for EVERY SINGLE RESIDENT of the ENTIRE state.

Potential for abuse, indeed.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/loca...bridges22m.html

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I previously posted this article on $2,000 debit cards for evacuees.

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/front/3343475

Scott McClellan said it would help encourage evacuees to get out of shelters and into more permanent housing, a goal of everyone involved in the effort.  However, there was this quote from Alaska Governor Frank Murkowski:

"Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski, a Republican, said he had concerns about the potential for abuse.

"That's a lot of money. The question is how do you separate the needy from those who just want a $2,000 handout," he said."

Where is Alaska, you ask?  Why that is that state up north with one half the population of the New Orleans metro area...in the entire state.  And he should know about the potential for abuse.  His state is the recipient of $231 MILLION for the construction of a bridge to an island with 50 inhabitants.  For those who are weak in math, that works out to $1448 for EVERY SINGLE RESIDENT of the ENTIRE state.

Potential for abuse, indeed.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/loca...bridges22m.html

I love that Scott McClellan, the son of Carol Keeton Landrover...er- I mean Strayhorn. His endorsement of such a humanitarian effort only strengthens my admiration for all things Rove...er-I mean Bush..uhhhh-I mean Cheney...DAMN! Now I'm confused!!!! :blink:

B)

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