Many of us find it difficult to fathom what it must be like to be a refugee. While maybe 40,000 Katrina refugees made the news via the SuperDome or the New Orleans Convention Centre, there were hundreds of thousands of others who left on their own before the storm hit. Here's one story, via Cynthoughts (who lives in Houston):
My mother is a girl scout leader for my much younger sister's troop. One of the girls in the troop is from New Orleans and had, until recently, twenty six additional members of the family living with them. These aren't poor people, but it is safe to say that they've lost everything. Since most of these people can't go back home, they are starting to find jobs and apartments in Houston. My mom had a lot of extra furniture: my old bed and television, my sister's old bedroom furniture and bed (she got new ones for her birthday) and some smaller items. When the Father/Husband came over to pick up the stuff, he was embarrassed. "We're usually the people helping out others. I can't believe we're in this situation."And for those who need housing, Alex Tabarrok is absolutely right: it would be huge mistake to house people in mobile-home-based refugee camps. Those centres would become worse than the housing projects built in major urban areas in the fifties and sixties. I hope the gubmnts listen to his recommendation: provide rental vouchers and let refugees select their own locations and accommodations according their preferences.