[Hpn] This answers where the 3 1/2 million homeless stand already homeless in USA

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Thu, 15 Sep 2005 08:34:48 -0400


September 15, 2005

Senate approves housing vouchers

By Lara Jakes Jordan

The Associated Press

      http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=katcong15&date=20050915&query=homeless

WASHINGTON - More than 350,000 families left homeless by Hurricane Katrina 
would receive emergency-housing vouchers averaging $600 a month for up to 
six months under a measure approved yesterday by the Senate.

Any displaced family regardless of income would be eligible for the program, 
expected to cost $3.5 billion over six months.

The Senate yesterday also rejected by a 55-44 vote a Democratic proposal to 
establish an independent, bipartisan commission - similar to one enacted 
after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - to examine what went wrong in 
Katrina's wake. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., voted in 
favor of the panel.

The votes on housing and an independent commission came as Senate Democrats 
scolded the nation's security chief for failing to take advantage of a 
national emergency-response plan to send massive federal aid to the Gulf 
Coast before Hurricane Katrina hit.

Democrats said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff delayed 
declaring Katrina an "incident of national significance" - a designation 
that would have triggered a quick and massive federal response - until one 
day after the hurricane hit, even though weather forecasts predicted the 
storm would cause widespread destruction.

A Chertoff spokesman denied the charge, pointing to millions of readymade 
meals, thousands of blankets and dozens of federal rescue teams sent to the 
region as the hurricane approached.

The housing measure, by Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., was attached on a voice 
vote to an unrelated spending bill covering the Commerce and Housing and 
Urban Development departments. The Senate was to pass the overall bill 
today; a final version needs to be worked out with the House.

The Senate also planned today to debate a plan expected to cost between $5 
billion and $7 billion to speed health care for people displaced by Katrina. 
The measure would ease rules for the Medicaid federal health-care program.

Also today, Congress hoped to work through a bill that would waive penalties 
for hurricane victims who tap their 401(k) retirement-savings accounts and 
would allow a tax deduction to anyone who houses evacuees for two months or 
more.