[Hpn] This answers where the 3 1/2 million homeless stand already homeless in USA
William Charles Tinker
Thu, 15 Sep 2005 08:34:48 -0400
September 15, 2005
Senate approves housing vouchers
By Lara Jakes Jordan
The Associated Press
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