Federal Assistance Gets Evacuees Their Own Homes

Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives are coming to Nacogdoches. They're not here yet, but a lot of applications for help are being submitted. United Way is assisting refugees with the process. The agency is helping with online applications. This is probably the fastest and safest way to submit a request for financial assistance.

Deidra Richardson of United Way is asking a favor from apartment managers. "Do this for the evacuees. Do this for the community. Give us the first month free and then we can get the FEMA money to reimburse them for the rest of the months."

The goal is to place around 80 individuals now staying in the Nacogdoches shelter and the many more staying around town in permanent housing as quickly as possible.

The anticipated government help did allow 26 refugee families to move into Spring Hill Apartment Complex in Nacogdoches. They should be relaxing and sleeping in a bed they can call their own.

Trina Norbert tours her new apartment. In less than a week since Hurricane Katrina, Trina and numerous other families have an address.

Pineywood Home Director Doug Dowler said, "We posted the openings at the shelter. In less than an hour we had 50 people wanting an apartment. We couldn't accommodate them all, but we helped as many as we could." Johnson furniture donated mattresses. Additional furniture, clothing and food are needed from others.

Leases are signed as Trina and her sisters prepare to leave their brother's home where 19 family members took refuge under one roof.

The sisters are pleased to have a home for their children. The next step is finding work and other loved ones. A brother is still missing.

There are still so many uncertainties, except Trina can be certain about one thing. "I'm going back to New Orleans. New Orleans is home and there's nothing like home." But for the time being it's still nice to have a home away from home.