Senator Tim Johnson is taking credit for giving away FEMA trailers to Native Americans:
Sen. Tim Johnson’s office announced Friday that American Indian tribes throughout the nation will get 2,000 so-called "FEMA trailers," which are sitting idle in Arkansas and Texas.
The trailers are mostly three-bedroom mobile homes, Johnson spokesman Megan Smith said.
Johnson pushed through legislation last year that allows FEMA to distribute the homes to reservations, where housing shortages are often dire.
"I saw pictures of tens of thousands of empty mobile homes sitting unused in Hope, Ark., while South Dakota's Indian tribes were struggling through a tough winter with inadequate housing," Johnson said in a written statement. "There is still much that needs to be done to improve Indian housing, but this is a good step toward addressing this serious problem."
Johnson, who is recovering from a brain hemorrhage, is working from home.
The 2,000 FEMA homes – excess from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- would solve a small part of a huge problem. About 90,000 American Indian families are without adequate housing, according to a 2003 study by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
South Dakota tribal officials say reservations here could use all the FEMA homes and more.
"We could easily use 3,000-plus homes right this very minute," said Joy Bush, executive director of the Oglala Lakota Housing Authority at Pine Ridge.
This clearly will not solve the poverty issue on reservations. Instead it will make it worse as the real source of their poverty is the continuing reliance on the government instead of taking responsibility for their own lives.
And there was nothing in the Rapid City Journal report regarding the health problems these government trailers pose. It took me 5 seconds to find this report on how toxic these trailers are:
There's little the federal government can do about the possibility that elevated levels of formaldehyde in hurricane trailers are making people sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 24,400 Federal Emergency Management Agency mobile homes and trailers are in Mississippi, housing about 65,900 Hurricane Katrina victims.
Rep. Gene Taylor, D-4th District, in February asked the CDC for a "detailed investigation" into whether formaldehyde in trailers is causing an outbreak of respiratory illnesses.
CDC Director Julie Louis Gerberding wrote Taylor last week that her agency "recognizes that residents experiencing symptoms want and need to alleviate their discomfort."
And there is another option for these trailers. Sell them and use the money to lessen the deficit. That would be a win for the taxpayers. And in the long run, that would be a win for Native Americans who decide to be self sufficient. The only person who is winning now is Senator Tim Johnson who is using taxpayers’ money to buy votes.