Real People Hurricane Relief

Real People Relief is for individuals, families and groups who wish to help a person or family directly, with no "middle man" "Be The Change" Ghandi "I pray that I may not be tempted, by indifference or selfishness to withhold from others the help I have received." Author Unknown to me

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Bonnie S and Loretta J


Location: I left my home in new orleans and went to my parents in mississippi. We got hit with the full brunt of katrina there. I now live in Phoenix Arizona. Not sure where I will be in a year.

Household: Bonnie (49) Loretta (32) and my dog Andouille

Situation: I moved to Phoenix after Katrina. I drove myswelf out of MS after I got my $2000 from FEMA and found an apt here. The first 3 months were rent free and the second 3 months were half price. We now pay the full price of $975.00. Loretta is trying to find a decent job. I am on disability.

Living situation: Condo

Help: Rental assistance from FEMA

Needs: Any cleaning supplies. We get food stamps but they don't cover the cleaning supplies or paper products.
Winter clothes
There are 2 women. One is a 24 to 26 size and the other is a 20 to 22Shop at target and walmart.
We could use some baking pans and a roaster.
Casserole dishes.
We could use feminine supplies.

Hey Yall,YEAH!!!!! Loretta and I were adopted today. What is so amazing is she is also a Katrina survivor. It makes us feel even more blessed. There is hope out there for us all. Thanks are not enough all we can do now is thank everyone on our behalf,Bonnie and Loretta
Note from Leslie - One person can make all the difference in the world! But it does take more than 1 to make sure a family or couple truly recovers and isn't just surviving. Great news - with more needed!

Labels: , , , , ,


William W


location: Pearlington, MS for the rest of my days.

Number in household: Bill, mid eighties and lots of dogs

Situation: Lost everything including transportation, home and dogs. Was in the house alone for the hurricane and was lucky to be in a two story house because the water came in at least four feet into the second floor. The water rose so fast furniture was floating, doors coming off of hinges barely made it up the stairs. Some of my dogs weren't so lucky.
I have been to the school and registered with different groups and have had some help.

This past year I have had the house gutted, roof replaced. Trying to make several rooms livable so that I can move out of the FEMA trailer. Working on kitchen, bath and living room. Have been robbed of supplies such as insulation.

Current Living Arrangements: Back in my house - still gutted. Got sick of FEMA trailer living. No heat or hot water yet, but better than a trailer.

Help: Insurance company says flood damage won't help. Salvation Army comes once a week with a box of various goods. Volunteers gutted the house and helped clean the yard.

I don't have much secure storage space so I only get what I can use fairly quickly.
Removal of debris from gutting of upstairs.
Dog food, Have acquired lots of dogs since the hurricane. Dry food is best. Simple medications for the dogs like heartworm and worming meds. A Vet check of them would get good too.
Paneling installed. It's been bought for a couple of months now, but no volunteers come my way (Leslie continues to look for assistance, but no one seems interested in helping)

3/15 Well I spoke with my dad yesterday, I was inquiring about his needs and he said he was not feeling well enough to talk. Of course I sent my brother there today, he said dad was ready to move out of that house. He wants a smaller house, he just can't take trying to fix that house any more. I guess you could say he has finally cracked. I have just found this info, so I don't know what we are going to do. Maybe this is just a down day. However he was like this yesterday and the day before from what I am told. Bottom line is he has had enough.

3/10 - from his daughter:
Spoke with him yesterday. He was not feeling good, his legs bothering him. He still has debris in his yard. " His house is coming along", that is what he says when I ask. I have been trying to reach him by phone to no avail. Will keep trying and let you know as soon as I reach him.

My dad was a captain on a merchant vessel. Before that he was in the Navy. By the way he just received his medals from the Korean War. I don't know if they were replacements, I guess they were.

Dad loves to read, when his eyes can stand it,crossword puzzles, garden, and watch sports on TV. You know he likes his dogs, too much for me. He goes to the VA Hall in Waveland everyday, since he is the treasurer. I think he goes just to give himself something to do.

Update 11/27
Visited with my father this past week. I could not stop crying. His health is nothing like it was last year. He is barely able to walk, he says his legs give out on him. He was very happy to receive a TV , thanks to a family in San Antonio. He can now see the picture.

His house is coming along. He is still in need of the ceiling taped, floated and finished. The interior walls have yet to be finished in parts of the house(Waiting on the ceiling). The bathroom closest to the finished part of the house has not been touched, the tub and tiled shower enclosure was not torn out, however there is some tile work to be done above lavatory once replaced and toilet.

I think my real concern for him right now is his drinking water. Do you know of anyone who can inspect his well to see is there is a leak? His water has been tested several time and is still not drinkable. Sent information regarding sanitizing a well and the info to get it retested.

All of the broken window have been fixed. The beading around the panes still has to be installed. Says he can't find it in Mississippi. This is a real skill - does anyone out there have this skill that is willing to do for him?

He met with Diane from Georgia, he said she was a very nice woman. She brought him some coffee, just like he asked.

Thank you for all of your help.

Updated 11.17
1. Light fixtures for all rooms (Ceiling fixtures)
2. Bathroom fixtures
3. Paneling for all rooms (He thinks that would be easier than sheetrock)
4. Still has lots of debris to be removed, including a house. (It was washed off of its foundation, he has now come to terms that is can't be saved. Only took him a year and a half.)

Shop at Wal-Mart and Lowes (closest in driving distance and less traffic than Slidell).

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, October 30, 2006

Shelley and Family

Shelley K, 4 children, 2 dogs, 2 cats.

Location: - I am in Gulfport, MS. Stayed for the Hurricane and took in people who lost everything. Now I am losing my house and my electricity will be disconnected Wednesday 11/1. (see update below)

Number in Household: - 2 dogs and 2 cats, 1 cat and 1 dog acquired after the storm.
I have a pregnant 16 yo who has been having difficulties with her pregnancy and is on bedrest; a 13 yo boy who will be 14 in Nov., a 6 and 4 yo girls. Then there is me, a 36 yo that has been making it by hard work and detemination.

Situation: I have managed to do it on my own since the Hurricane. My husband left me in Jan. 2006 and took all our savings with him. I have managed by myself since then. Now I am trying to stop a foreclosure and keep my electricity on, but that doesn't seen to be happening. I had to give up a decent job, in order to be home with the kids at night. I have managed to get $348 from FEMA and finally got Food Stamps about 2 weeks ago (my husband helped with that when he turned me in, before I was not eligible because he would not pay child support), and my children have Medicaid. Other than that I have not recieved any assistance. I plan on having a daytime job soon, but not soon enough.
11/6 I have found a job working part time now, and I did manage to get the money through a friend and the St. Vincent de Paul society in Biloxi. Other than that everything is still the same way as it has been.

Current Living Arrangements: - I am living in my house, but they are going to start foreclosure on Nov 18.

Help: - I really need assistance just to pay my electric bill, before the Nov. 1, 3 month's bill is a little over $600

Stores you shop at:

Really the only stores around here are Winn Dixie, Wal-Mart, and KMart

Hello, sorry for not contacting you sooner. I have been so busy with work and trying to get everything taken care of for Christmas. But let me give you an update on everything.
All my children have been adopted. The last 2 got adopted today through a local relief organization, thank you Tami. The 3 little girls got adopted by a nice lady and her family, their adoption sort of snowballed to her office decided to pitch in and help. Receive a large box full of toys, clothing and even something for the older children.
Thank you Shellie and all who helped her, the Playstation 1 and all the games were great, they are all fighting over who is going to play first...No one until Christmas...LOL And of course I cannot forget to mention Janna, I am so excited to see my daughter's face when she gets the MK cosmetics, of course I can't wait to get mine either.
On to the other things, I have finally caught up on all my bills except the mortgage, but my wonderful boss has actually volunteered to front me the money and take it out of my paycheck a little at a time. He has also decided to keep me full time after the new year. When I first started it was full time just until New Years then to part time, but business has picked up and I have proven to him that I will work and not goof off.
That has made my life a lot easier, I was concerned that I would get everything caught up then end up falling back into a hole again.
Also, to let you know, that everything that has happened to me through this site and another site has helped me in more ways than one. My older children have realized that no matter what happens that there are people worse off than we are. So we have found a family that has fallen through the cracks and really needed help and we have adopted them (not for Christmas, as an ongoing effort). When I went to visit them a few weeks ago, they had mattresses on the floor, no dressers, no kitchen furniture or what not, and the couch they had had broken springs and holes.
We have been doing the freecycle thing and now they have bedroom furniture, living room furniture, and cookware, we have also gotten the children clothing and toys for Christmas (they did not put up a tree this year, because they could not afford to buy anything for the children). We are still working on a dining room set and a few other things for their kitchen. As I said thanks for letting me know about freecycle, I didn't need to pay for anything but gas to help this family.
Well, I guess this pretty much covers everything. And if you are the one that was talking to Tami, thank you.
I hope you and everyone around you has a very MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR.
I know I will, because I have made wonderful friends through this website and the ones on yahoo.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Help LA Transitional Home Communities

There are currently over 12,000 occupied FEMA trailers located in several hundred clusters around the state with an estimated 25,000+ people living in them. While this was an immediate answer to a catastrophic situation, reality is that many of these temporary FEMA trailer sites were placed on available land found in remote areas, far away from accessible services such as grocery stores, medical facilities, jobs and childcare. Many of them do not have transportation to gain access to the nearest services. Unless a church or community group has taken the site under its wing, many displaced citizens are virtually isolated from services and information. Still in shock a year after being uprooted overnight, many people have ended up in unfamiliar territory, isolated and alone, with the overwhelming task of integrating into established communities they did not choose as their homes.
The goal of the Louisiana Family Recovery Corps is to empower these residents to move into more permanent housing situations as quickly as possible.
There are many short term goals that must be accomplished in order to achieve the goal of more permanent housing.
Some Common Critical Issues Facing these Residents:
Lack of Transportation
Access to Primary and Behavioral Health Care
School Registration and Attendance
Substance Abuse Counseling
Child Care programs
After-school youth programs
Elderly Services
Services for Disabled residents
Help in Completing & filing documents/applications for FEMA, Social Security/Medicaid, etc.
To accomplish our goal we need YOUR help…
We need church groups and community organizations to formally adopt a site in their communities – an incredible step in helping many of our neighbors affected by the hurricanes to resume a quality life, but also a serious responsibility to empower new members of your communities.
There are two main types of sites:
Group sites have security and management and service providers need permission to gain access.
Commercial sites are already existing trailer parks in which FEMA has leased lots. There is usually no management on site.
Sites range in size from one or two trailers to 573 and they are in urban, rural, and suburban areas.
If you are interested in adopting a site or partnering with another organization, please contact me at
Empowering these residents through communication and access to resources is vital to the recovery of Louisiana.
If a group has already informally adopted a site, that’s fantastic. Please send me their contact information at, so that we can work together to access more resources.
There are reintegration specialists from the Department of Labor working diligently around the state.
If you have a job opening, please go to their website and make the opening available.
Phone Numbers
Non-emergency medical transportation phone numbers – 1-800-864-6034

Sunday, October 29, 2006

NOLA Road Home Experience

11/17 Article
Grant requests by phone now OK
Administrators seek to reduce worries Thursday, November 09, 2006 By Coleman Warner
Facing intense pressure from Gov. Kathleen Blanco to speed the processing of Road Home rebuilding grants, administrators of the high-profile assistance program announced Wednesday that homeowners can complete their applications by phone. The change takes effect immediately.
"We want to ensure that all eligible homeowners are able to apply, regardless of their comfort in accessing the Internet or filling out a paper application, " said Mike Byrne, the program's chief administrator. The new procedure resulted from a suggestion Sen. Ann Duplessis, D-New Orleans, made during a recent legislative hearing and is intended to help homeowners overcome their anxiety about providing information on a form that alludes to harsh penalties against anyone found guilty of fraud, said Louisiana Recovery Authority Executive Director Andy Kopplin. The LRA sets policy for the Road Home program and urged the procedural change, which had to be carried out by the contractor ICF International.
"People are very cautious about what information they put down on an application because they're nervous," Kopplin said.
With the change, homeowners can complete an application by calling 1 (888) ROAD-2-LA. Program staff members will fill out applications for the homeowners and help set up appointments with advisers at one of 11 centers in Louisiana or at a 12th scheduled to open Nov. 16 in Houston. The phone lines will be open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.
Officials reported during a Louisiana Recovery Authority meeting on Monday that Blanco has ordered administrators of the Road Home effort to approve rebuilding money for 10,000 storm-damaged families by the close of November. The program has a backlog of nearly 79,000 applications.
Officials said that as of Monday, they have held 19,356 application appointments and calculated 1,721 grant awards, with a total of $110.3 million in benefits calculated. The average award was $67,908. Financed with $7.5 million in federal money, the program compensates homeowners damaged by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita last year for uninsured losses of up to $150,000.
But gearing up the program has taken months, and many homeowners have complained about long waits for an appointment.
A news release said the Road Home program is adding hundreds of appointment slots in coming days at assistance centers and that homeowners who already have scheduled meetings in December or later may be able to get the appointment moved up by calling the toll-free number. In a previous move to expedite the filing of applications for the grant assistance, officials dropped a requirement that homeowners list the cash value of other assets, including checking and savings accounts, stocks and life insurance.

Letters From the Road Home
We’re looking for Road Home stories here at Think New Orleans.
Michael Homan has been blogging about his Road Home experience. The math has been confusing, but answers have been a phone call away. The rough bits are all owning to Allstate.
What are your experiences with the Road Home? Good, bad?
Sincerely, Alan Gutierrez

The LRA process: One applicant's experience
02:23 PM CST on Sunday, October 29, 2006
Mikel Schaefer / Executive Producer WWL-TV
If you're one of the thousands waiting to meet face to face with representatives from the Road Home Program and you're wondering just what you're in for, here it is.

Like many of you, I suffered damage from Katrina and signed up for the Road Home Program. I filled out my application online and recently received a letter to make an appointment to come to one of their 10 registration offices in the state. One very important note, if you registered, that's not the same as applying, so make sure you fill out an application either online or on paper and send it in.

They offered an October 31 appointment in Kenner but anxious to get the process moving, I asked them if there was something sooner at another location and they offered me a 2pm appointment on October 19 at their office on Poydras Street downtown. I saved two weeks by being flexible about the location.

Here's a timeline about how the process went for me.

1:40pm - I arrived at 1555 Poydras Street and inside the downstairs lobby there was a table with literature on the program. I introduced myself and they checked the list of appointments and after finding my name, someone escorted me to the 9th floor. I asked if they had been busy and the representative said the day before they saw about 100 people but around 25 had postponed their meeting.

After getting off of the elevator there was an NOPD officer at a desk outside the office and he checked my license against the appointments before letting me inside.

I walked to the reception desk just steps from the officer and they again checked my I.D. with the appointments. They gave me some documents to sign explaining their privacy policy and an authorization to release some information. The room had about 37 people in it with a steady stream of people moving in and out of the reception room.

There was a plastic play table with puzzles and blocks for children. I realized I didn't bring anything to read so I just casually looked over the shoulder of a woman reading a magazine from New York. I was thinking of asking her if she had something I could borrow to read, but decided not to.

2:13pm - A man periodically comes out and calls someone's name who walks into another room and sits in front of a cubicle before he/she returns to their seat. I'm not sure what is done inside of there because I really can't see what's taking place, but I figure that's my first stop.

2:15pm - The man calls my name and after walking into the room I sat down and they took my picture and scanned my thumbprint.

The one thing that struck me is how cordial everyone had been up to then, very polite and businesslike. I told the woman sitting next to me, "people are pleasant."

She said, "you don't mind waiting if people don't have an attitude."

2:23pm - The New Orleans Police Officer opens the door for a man coming in with a walker, right then my counselor comes in behind them and calls my name, introduces herself and said she's going to make this as "painless as possible."

2:37pm - We walked out of the reception area past the elevators and down a hall to her office. My counselor asked for my username and password that you get when you apply online and she used it to call up my application making sure I answered all the questions correctly.
2:44pm - She printed up and I signed the home evaluation work sheet. This is to have someone come to my home to inspect my home. She says to call her back if I don't hear from someone in two weeks.

2:58pm - She explains that the process to get any money will take 60-to-90 days. She can't give me any idea of how much money I could qualify for, that will be done after the home inspection and they take into consideration money I've received from sources like FEMA and insurance.

She also explained that if I do qualify for some assistance that when I return the most money I will get at that time will be 10-20% of the award and will get the rest later. She also said when they evaluate how much money to give out against your losses they estimate on basic needs and won't calculate a number based on high priced items such as granite countertops or expensive kitchen or bath accessories. She then took some of the documents I brought like insurance payments and a recent appraisal of my home to be scanned onto a disk so the evaluator will have the information he/she needs to come up with a dollar figure.

3:11pm - Since my wife couldn't be with me for this visit, I have to call my counselor back in a week and let her know when she can come in to get her picture and thumbprint taken.

3:20pm - The meeting was done and she gave me all of my documents and a copy of the CD they scanned all of my documents onto. She said the next step in the process would be hearing from someone to check out the damage on my house.

The process was relatively painless. I would make sure to bring as many documents you have on your home so in the event they need them, then the process doesn't get delayed any longer than it has to. Do not forget your I.D. since they checked mine just three times before the process began.

Wednesday October 25th:

I received a call around 9:25am from the home evaluator saying he could be at my house this morning to take pictures and take notes. I agreed to meet him around 10:15am so he could get the information he needs. I was lucky to have the time to meet him on such short notice. Flexibility again can work in your favor to get through this process.

When he showed up at my house the first thing he did was take a picture of me in front of my house as a way of identifying the house with me like having my thumbprint on file. He explained he would take pictures and take notes on the damage at my home. He will then send the information to a Road Home evaluator who will use the information in conjunction with all the money I've received for the house so far. That evaluator will come up with an answer to whether I qualify for any assistance.

He said if I don't hear from anyone in two weeks to check back with my counselor to see what's the latest.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Recovery and Relief Resources

Please read ALL of these links. Some of the items are fully within your ability to do by yourself with no paperwork - it's little stuff to help yourself.
Then there are others that are just ideas to keep in the back of your head. And then the rest are multiple links to assistance. I know there's no way to go through all of these in a day or even a week. But if you work all of the ideas, just a few at a time, you'll get through them all AND you'll get more help than you thought was ever available. It doesn't mean I'll take you off the site, but it means life will be a little less stressful. OK?

As I am able, I will be adding state-specific resources as well. Please be patient as all my contacts are in MS. It takes a long time to build the information.

Weekly Updates From Leslie Just an overview of what I do in a week.
12/3 - A woman in LA, CA is hoping to help some of you through her site. Please look and write to her.
11/28 Free Eye Glasses...
Lenscrafters will be sponsoring a community day on December 5th.
Anyone who needs new glasses and has a financial need can go to anyLenscrafters (nationwide) that day, bring their prescription and a letterfrom their organization with the organization' s tax ID # on it and get theirprescriptions filled for free. - many of you are associated with registered non-profits. Talk to your case manager for the letter...
11/24 Single Parent Help Resource Page
11/24 LA Assistance Resource Page
11/18 - Shared Housing Information
11/18 - Education Assistance for Both Teens and Adults
11/18 Help for Caregivers and Elderly
11/12 Extending Thanksgiving Bounty
11/12 Snail Mail Scam Also applies to email. Don't get suckered! A bunch in my area have.
11/13 Staying Healthy and Paying Less To Do it Updated 11/14
Temporary Assistance For Needy Families - This program allows you to work while receiving assistance from the gov't. It also opens up many other funding sources.
General Assistance - utilities, medical, grants, etc. Lots updated 11/18
Home Repair Assistance
Preparing For A Disaster
FEMA Trailer Specific Preparations
Avoiding The Flu

11/2 Total Community Action is taking applications to assist with home repairs. The assistance is limited to only a few zip codes: 70119, 70125, 70126 and maybe more.
Call to find out what other areas: 309-6707. 309-6708, 309-6709, 309-6713
Best wishes!
From FreeCycleNewOrleans

11/4 MS Assistance Agencies


Cheryl V., Luis, Javier and Chloe; Zeus and Hera

Email: -
Location: We were in Terrytown, La( Jefferson Parish), and relocated to N.C and plan on staying in N.C. it is a beautiful state.
Number in Household: Cheryl, 38, Luis, 48, Javier(M) 16, Chloe ( F) soon to be 9, Zeus and Hera (4 y.o. cats)
Situation: Sometimes I feel guilty because I am not as bad as others, I didn't lose my life, and only lost things that one-day will be replaced. We restarted in NC due to my daughter’s asthma. It has been hard, My husband couldn't find a job here that would pay all the bills and car payments, food, clothes, cat supplies ect. So he went back to Louisiana last week to help pay off bills, car and get us out of this black hole. FEMA approved my declaration of loss of all my things in the apartment and only gave me $2500 - for 2 computers, furniture, toys electronic games, memories ect. We are not eligible for rental asst. because we live in a HUD home. We pay rent of $450 but according to FEMA we are receiving help from HUD
Current Living Arrangements: rental house
Help: Red Cross, FEMA
We are good
Paper Products Good..
School Supplies Pens and pencils would be great - the kids have gone through my supply.
Computer Supplies Cartridges would be great HP 94/95

has grown so much and is going through clothes like crazy, she is a size 6 1/2 - 7 in women’s sneakers and only has 1 pair
She is tall and needs long XL (16) pants and XL shirts.. Winter is coming so it needs to be winter clothes, and she is in need of PJ’s (she can wear a women’s small- medium and any color is ok with her.)

Cheryl needs shirts (long sleeve( 2XL or 22), and pants 22-24( 2x) tall. I like brown, gray, black, blue pants, and shirts any color are ok.
Cleaning Supplies We are good.
Household Supplies I need some speciality cookware because I am a vegetarian and make my own things, so if anyone has a food processor and fruit/veggie juicer they need to get rid of please let me know.
Stores you shop at Wal-Mart, Target, JC Penny

3/8 We are doing ok. not great, not bad. Haven't won the lotto, if we did we would be great :) . My husband has been working for a month and a half. We are catching up on over due bills, and paying off money a person lent him to pay for the car insurance. Once we catch up on the bills, and pay off this loan we will be better. My kids are growing like weeds. My son took his SAT'S and did ok, and also took a test to get certified in Microsoft , which he passed and now is certified in Microsoft office, he is taking another certification in June, and is participating in a state wide test for computers, so I am saving money for some dress clothes. My daughter is growing like a weed, she is 5'1" at 9 yrs old. sheesh. We are settling in to life ok here, and are going to try and move out of where we are living this summer with our tax refund money. New Orleans seems so long ago. I still have days when I remember something I left behind, it will take me about 10 yrs to get everything I need at this rate, oh well. I hope you are doing ok, and that winter is being good to you. take care.

Kitchen needs are long
these are the necessities I need: Pyrex bowls, Corningware bakeware, mashed potato thingy(the thing you mash potatoes with). 2 pots one for soup, and one that is 1.5 qt( the ones I have are so bad that they have holes in the side ( not all the way through but on the paint, these are red pots and are made with some material that chips away mine have big chips in them). toaster, the toaster I have sparks coming out of the toaster, when the toast pops up, and am worried about starting a fire.
Not a necessity: food processor, food dehydrator, and food juicer- if you come along these, they would be appreciated, but it is not a real big need right now. thanks Cheryl

I just wanted to give you the heads up that Gary( dot, maryland) sent me a set of baking things( cookie sheet, bread pan, muffin pan)... It made my day. I had some bananas and made some banana bread. Thanks for sending him in my direction, he has purked me up on bad days.
The job I applied for called today, they picked someone esle for the job, wasn't surprised, but what the heck. life is life . cheryl

We went from wonderful 60's and 70's to 30's . A big change. I don't remember when we spoke last so I am doing my update. My husband got his first paycheck!! yeh. We are behind in bills, ect.
But it was nice to be able to buy food - the closets where down to a few cans of beans and pack of pasta. Right now I am not going to be on track for 2 months at least. My husband uses the car for work, so I am almost home bound all the time, which has gotten me feeling real down, but what can I do. I have been baking more with the baking stuff I was sent, thanks to you! I am waiting for my husband's W-2s to come in so I can file taxes and buy some things I need. The kids are in deseperate need of clothes. Chloe is growing out of children's clothes, and needs a whole new wardrobe,and my son's clothes are down to a few pants, and shirts. This money will be a great help.

My update... A person from a cat board I am on, is a lawyer in NYC , and on behalf of my husband she wrote a letter to the company that fired him. We are looking at a wrongful termination lawsuit.
I am still job looking, Teusday I am attending a session at a local job center to help find me a job. The good news is my husband got called in for a job. Friday he goes for orientation. We won't have any money for a few weeks( he gets payed bi-weekly), but at least money will be coming in. I got emergency food stamps for this month, but with this job, they will not be renewed, oh well.
I am hoping that I will be able to get medicaid re instated for my kids, this job only has health insurance for my husband, and it would be too expensive for us to purchase insurance. My daughter is asthmatic, and I need to see doctors monthly.
I don't do any other hoping, because everytime I do, I seem to slide backwards. The kids are growing so much. Chloe is growing out of her clothes like a weed. As soon as i have some money I will be shopping for clothes. We have a great Goodwill over here, so I can pick up alot of clothes for her for $20. My son is going to take his SAT's this month, and live is going on. FEMA is a forgotten thing, and I know things will get better.
I have discovered frugal living, lol. I hope , out of my tax refund, to buy a small freezer, and some canning equipment , grow some tomatoes, and save money. One day I will have a nice little house with lots of veggies growing in the back, with a cow, some chickens and a horse. That is my dream. It is not a big one. Once I am out of this hole, I plan on helping others by purchasing Angelfood ministries food boxes and donating one , when I can. There have been alot of people who have helped me, and maybe by doing this I can pay them back.
I know one day I will write you with good news, and I can finally say Thank you for all the help you have given, but now I don't need it.
For now take care, Cheryl
Our xmas was so so. As you know I almost burned the kitchen, and after cleaning the stove, discovered my heating element was loose, causing a short. I have called twice the office for the housing authority here, , the short caused a hole in the bottom, but the laborors who came out said it is ok to use. We didn't have any money to buy special food, so we just dined on rice, canned corn and some chicken thighs. Paula H. in N.C. sent the kids a few gifts, which helped make the day a little special, but in general it was a let down, I really don't feel like celebrating any more xmas's again.
Chloe picked out a nice pair of sneakers and had 4 dollars left so she picked out a Hello Kitty wallet that was in clearance. Thank you for it, Chloe was real , real happy she received this.
New Years is coming up and food will again be sparce, oh well. Someone sent some clothes for me for spring, Thank you that will be a great help when it gets warmer, I did have to pass on some things that were too short, to a needy family in the area. Thanks again Cheryl
My husband was fired for a driving violation leaving his job. The site manager/safety manager is a idiot. My husband passed a car Monday night driving home, because the car was going really slow ( 10 miles in a 35 mil) so he passed it in an area where the line seperating the 2 lanes was not visible. His forman, H.R. person spoke up for him but this guy would not budge, I spoke to him and he would not listen to me. He is just an idiot. I am trying to take it further, but now my husband is out of a job, there are no openings now until the new year. Toyota Financial called today, maybe about taking our only car back, we are 2 months behind, I didn't answer them, because I really don't know what to do. I am sick, with no money for medicine. My husband was called in for 2 other jobs the same time he got this job, but I do not know if they are still available, he is going totry again tomorrow calling, but as you well know people are partying for the holiday. My kids were supposed to be adopted for christmas by someone, and I have not received anything for them, so I dont' plan on receiving anything for them. I don't have enough food for the holidays, no job, and no gifts so I am not celebrating, and probably will never again celebrate it. I am looking forward to the new year, and hope that next year will be better. Thanks for the well wishes. Happy New Year. Cheryl
The good news is jobs are opening up for my husband , right now he taking a Welding test and if he passes he will be working 45 minutes away. It is a good paying job with benefits. I would be able to play catch up with some bills, but a better xmas would have to wait until next year. He also has 2 other offers of jobs, so if this doesn't work up something will work out. The kids are growing, Chloe needs shoes badly , but I am being patient, and she is a good child, telling me when I have money please buy her new shoes. For the first time in months I am hopeful
The Katrina Aid Today people are going to give us gas money, we are just broke, broke, broke. I am going to volunteer for them, calling other people in the state from Katrina and see how they are doing. So please keep your fingers crossed for some good times for me. Thanks cheryl
Please everyone cross your fingers, my husband was called in for a job that is about one hour and 40 minutes away, and it is for 5 months, but the pay is $20 an hour, I will be without a car during most of the week, but the pay will help us straighten ourselves out. He goes Wednesday to see a video, and fill out forms. So please keep your fingers crossed nothing goes wrong. Thanks cheryl
My husband is out job hunting daily , only to be told, come back after the new year. I was accepted to Guilford college, but was denied the attempt to consolidate a federal defaulted loan,so I won't be going. I am 2 months behind on my car bill, so it will probably be repossesed and I will be without a car all together. I am almost out of cat food, but some friends bought me enough cat food for 2 months, so I don't have to worry about my cats, which is some relief. My daughter's asthma is acting up because of the cold weather, and because of our money condition, I only turn on the heat in the morning and at night for 2 hrs, so her asthma is not to good, she is on a nebulizer. Other than that we are the same, I am not looking forward to the holidays, I would like to close all the blinds, shut off the t.v. and just lie down until they are passed, I won't have extra money to buy food for special dinners, or anything so why bother. Take care. cheryl
HI I just wanted to update you that I got my phone bill and electric bill paid for this month, yeh!! The Salvation Army here in High Point, was given gift cards to split among us evacuees, well instead of giving them out all at once, this is the second time that she has given them out. They have been losing money because every month you do not use them it is a $2.50 fine, so I got 4 gift cards that said $100 but were worth $85. I payed 2 months worth of phone and one month of electic/water/sewage and filled up my car with gas, lol. I could have used it for a nicer Christmas, but what the heck - at least I will have lights and telephone service. Thank you so much for your worry about this. I did apply to Modest needs but they turned me down, so this money was a great find for me. Take care and hope you stay away from the bees. Cheryl
we are not so good, what else is new? I guess it is the holidays and people shopping and me not having any money to buy things for my kids can get really depressing. Right now my husband's job looking has come up bad, I have applied on line to Lowes, Sears, MOses Cone hospital, Pet SMart, and am attending a job help program next week. We just can't seem to get out of this hole, and I am not sure if I will have phoneservice/internet access the week after next, if I don't find money, because I don't have money to pay the bill, or buy food for that matter. FEMA Rental Assistance has promised me help since last month and they keep giving me the run around saying I need this paper and that, I know I can't depend on them, but was hoping on this money to keep us afloat and have some money for the holidays, oh well that is FEMA.
11/17 update
This month is our down month. My husband went down with a friend to Louisiana to work at a job that would pay off our debts and help us buy another car, well the first week there, he had a gun stuck in his face by a teenager on a bike, then the job he was working at let him go because of not having a car( his friend was working a different shift who he drove around with.

Then he comes back up here 2 wks ago to take a test in S.C. only to be told they are not testing right now. So he is out of work and not being able to find work in the area, I have found him work all over the country that pays real good, but without a car he can't work. I am trying to find work, but am awaiting help with work clothes from a agency here. I dont' think I would be able to find a job with a pair of sneakers with holes in them. I also applied to 1800 charity car, and am awaiting about getting another car, I also have tried to contact in my area, and still have had no luck reaching them.

The holidays are coming up and I really don't feel like celebrating, there are all these things being shown for kids and stuff, and I won't be able to buy anything I wanted for my kids. Today on the View Rosey O'donnell was saying that they were donating about 500( ?) Nintendo DS for Katrina kids. What Katrina kids, there are Katrina kids all over the country who need help who are they helping? that is my question.

Hopefully the new year will be better, because the end of this year is really stinking. Sorry for being so down. I just wanted to update you to my situation. Cheryl

Labels: , , , , , ,

Robb and Rod

Robb and Rod, Katrina, Leo, Precious, and now Ghetto

Email: or
Location: We lived in Waveland before the storm, but are now living in Bay St Louis - We intend to stay in the Bay-Waveland area if at all possible.
Number in Household: 6, including pets: Rod (35 male), Robb (37 male), Leo (3 y.o. male dog); Katrina (1 y.o. female dog); Precious (2 y.o. female cat); Ghetto (2 m.o. male kitten).

Left Picture shows where house WAS.

Situation: My former landlord told me, "Don't come back. If you have anywhere else to go, don't come back," before she broke down sobbing.

Poochie, one of our dogs, died. The vet said that she had apparently picked up a parasite before we got to El Paso.
We spent the next few months in El Paso. I have Crohn's Disease, and have quite a few problems because of it. One major problem is my teeth, weakened to the point that they crack and even crumble when I'm chewing things. Before the storm, I made arrangements to have them all removed and replaced with artificial ones. So, now in El Paso, planned surgery and we began making arrangements for that.

Because El Paso was told they would not be reimbursed for their relief efforts, they discontinued their program, and we were without a home. FEMA contacted us as well, on the same day, and told us that they had a trailer for us back in Mississippi, but that if we did not come back within a week, we would lose the trailer.

We lucked into one of the nicer parks, with security and everything, so we count ourselves lucky in that respect. The week after we made it back, the car died for good, so we spent the remainder of our money to purchase a used station wagon to get to our jobs. We later found out that the car needs a transmission, but it's too late to return it.
Within two weeks of being back, I developed a lung infection that landed me in the hospital, and I had lost my job. I took another job, but before fully recovering from the first lung infection, and got another one even worse than the first. I recovered from this one, and was offered a job at the hospital. This was a gift, and I jumped on it. During my pre-employment testing, they discovered that I had TB. The health department did their tests and told me that I would have to go on a nine month treatment. I am four months into that and it is working, but the medication has the unwelcome side effect of causing my Crohn's to flare up again.
I began to get infections in my jaw at the rate of one every week or two, and spent as much time in the hospital as out of it. My job with the hospital was based on a recovery grant that ran out, so I found myself without employment yet again. We finally made arrangements - again - to have the surgery done with my teeth, and I had the first of three done on October 20, having all of my upper teeth removed, and the next is scheduled for December 1.
The Saturday after my surgery, Hiphop (one of our cats) began acting like he didn't feel well. Because of the late hour and it being a weekend, we couldn't find a vet in the area to see him. By the time we found someone who would see us, Hiphop was in horrible shape, and he ended up dying on the way to the vet. The vet said it appeared that Hiphop died due to a bite. Based on his symptoms, it may have been a brown widow.
It seems like that's life down here these days: Getting a little bit ahead and then falling down further than you were to begin with. Most everyone I talk to here feels that way. We're thankful to be alive, but there are occasionally times that it all gets to be just too much. Those times, we just try to deal with it until it gets better, and eventually it does.

Progress being made with Ghetto and Precious! Eating out of same dish at the same time!

Current Living Arrangements:
We are currently living in a FEMA trailer in one of the many FEMA parks in Bay St Louis, MS.
Help Received: - Red Cross, FEMA. Various charities. The citizens of El Paso helped with things such as emergency medical treatment and one of the El Paso vets treated our pets for free, as well as spaying and neutering them for no charge.
Foods – non-perishable only
Soft foods - instant mashed potatoes, gelatin/pudding, canned meats - things that either don't have to be chewed or can be "gummed" will be most helpful over the next few months.
Paper Products.
Paper towels, toilet paper, bandaids, and disposable plates
Computer Supplies
Their printer uses four different cartidges - one black, one yellow, one magenta and one cyan. I've included the specifics on each one below:
· Black - Brother, LC41BK
· Magenta - Brother, LC41M
· Cyan - Brother, LC41C
· Yellow - Brother, LC41Y

Robb - Because of the Crohn's, he must wear loose fitting clothing. Shirts - XX or larger (the bigger the better) and L or larger in jogging pants or shorts. He wears 9 1/2 wide shoes, sandals and thongs.
Rod - Rod wears medium shirt, 30-32 pants, and 11 1/2wide shoes. He works in construction, so anything worn for that would be most helpful. He typically wears jeans or jogging pants and a t-shirt outside of work.
Cleaning Supplies
Windex, Clorox wipes, anti-bacterial dishwashing detergent, anything pet safe and that would help with dust and pet hair.
Household Supplies
Because space is so limited, any space-saving items are lifesavers, particularly in the kitchen area. Try as I might, I haven't been able to find a large cooking pot for making red beans, soups and gumbo.
Stores you shop at
Home Depot - (They carry many space-saving items that make a huge difference when trying to store things in a FEMA trailer)
PetSmart - (Two dogs and two cats who are all spoiled rotten can be a trial, but they are part of the family)
Sprint - (not a typical listing, I know, but we rely on Sprint for our telephone and internet in the FEMA parks, as no ground lines are allowed)

I know it's been a while since I wrote and I apologize for that. Between having my access turned off and having a serious flareup, staying in contact has been difficult to say the least. I got the package from you and wanted to say thank you for the shirts! They are a bit small for me, but Rod and my nephews are able to wear them just fine.

Since I wrote to you last time, things have changed quite a bit. I wish I could say the changes were all for the better, but hurdles seem to be trend right now. hehe

The car that I purchased when we moved back home died completely, leaving me with no transportation. Thankfully I do most of my work from home so I am still able to earn some money. My mom has been making sure I get back and forth to pick up and drop off things. It will cost more than it's worth to repair the car, so it's basically a lost cause. My mom is helping me try to find some cheap little car that will work for just basic errands around town.

As I mentioned above, I had a rather serious flareup that kept me down for a very long time. I wasn't earning any money during that time, so I lost my phone and access until I was able to start working and get the bill caught up. Now I'm just doing my best to take it easy but still earn enough money not to get behind again.

I have been offered a Katrina Cottage, but I have to supply the land to put it on. Unfortunately I have no savings anymore (I've been living off of what I had saved while I was sick) so I'm trying to find someone who has land in the area that they will let me make payments to purchase. The
biggest hurdle is that I only have 29 days to find and purchase the land so that I can tell them where to put the cottage. If I don't find land within that time, then I don't get the home. If you know of any groups that help people in a situation like this, would you let me know about them or give them my contact info? Getting this place would make a huge difference - the cottages are actually small houses and are much safer than FEMA trailers. They're not much bigger than the trailers, but they are laid out in a better way and have more usable space. I would be eligible for a handicap accessable home, so getting around would be so much easier when I'm seriously ill. I just need to locate a group or person who either has land that they would sell to me on a payment plan or would assist me in finding a way to get the land on a payment plan.

The animals are all doing well. Tri and Leo had a rough time with a skin condition for about a month, but once we found a medication that they responded to, it cleared up quickly. Both the cats have settled right in and have claimed one part of the trailer as their own. hehe

I'm doing a little better after the lung infection and the flu. It's slow healing from it, but I am healing, so I'm thankful.We finally finished sorting through the clothes, seeing what was ruined from the leak, and were able to save about half of it. The rest were just too far gone.
If I had realized as soon as it had happened, perhaps that would have made a difference. But with one (small) closet, you learned to stack and cycle things pretty quick, so the clothes that were in the back of the closet ended up sitting there wet for a week or so. Most of what I could save was stuff that could be bleached and put in hot water, or that was hanging up high in the closet and only got a little moisture.
We did get someone over to fix the air conditioning a couple of days ago, just in time for it to turn cold. LOL At least I know that when it gets warm again, the air will work this time. Of course, the day after they fixed the air, we got a cold front - not a big one - just enough to take the edge off the heat. Yesterday, however, we got a pretty strong front in, and discovered that now the heat doesn't work! I'm not sure if it's because of the leaks or if they just didn't hook something back up when they were working on the air, but it won't come on at all. I don't mind the cold so much (and even I'm finding it chilly), but Rod just doesn't handle it all that well. I'm on the phone today, trying to get them back over here to find out why the heater has quit.
I saw your note about infection rates with TB and other illnesses down here, and wanted to agree with you that people really do need to be careful whether they live here or are coming down to help. I was diagnosed with TB back at the beginnning of the year, and had to go on the treatment. That's nine months of taking a nasty tasting pill every day, and regular (at least once a month) visits to the health department to have blood drawn and tested. There's also the fact that any time I go to a hospital, I have to be placed in a negative pressure room because of my TB status. If they don't have a NP room, I have to wear one of those heavy masks, and those things get HOT.
Now that I've tested positive, I will always test positive and hospitals will insist on those precautions, even when I tell them I'm not active and have been treated. Granted, there are worse things in the world, but why expose yourself to it needlessly?
It's taken me a little longer to send an update this time, as I've been sick again with another lung infection followed by a bout of the flu. I was already weak and trying to recover from the infection when I came down with the flu, so it pretty much floored me. I'm getting over it, but it's taking time.I did get the microwave, and met Mr. McGinnis (I'm probably spelling that wrong). He was very kind, and I wanted to say thank you to you and him both. Now I just have to find a place to put it where Ghetto can't get to the cord. hehe
FEMA has begun doing monthly inspections, where they come look at the trailer and discuss what we've done towards getting into a place of our own. They require a list of all the places I've contacted over the month so that they can verify that I am indeed trying. The biggest problem I've come across in looking for a home/apartment is that there are very few places available. The ones that are available are outrageously expensive - out of my price range - and still are snatched up almost immediately, usually by crews that are working down here and getting paid enough to afford them.
We've had two pretty bad rains in the last few weeks, and have discovered that the trailer leaks horribly in a few places. The worst places are by the dining table and behind the closet. I only discovered the leak in the closet a day or so ago, so I'm still pulling out clothes to dry out what I can and throw away what has been ruined. The last bad rain also shorted out the air conditioning system.

I've been down for the last week or so with a minor lung infection again. We caught it early this time, and they put me on antibiotics and breathing treatments same as last time. It seems to be doing the trick, but it will be a couple of weeks for me to get back to full strength. I haven't even been able to paint because the dust from the greenware aggravates it, so I've been going a little stir-crazy. LOL I'm anxious to get back to work!

I think the whole situation is getting to us all a little bit at this point. Where it seems to affect me more physically, Rod seems to be getting more and more withdrawn and will often come home from work and just go straight to the room. I'm not complaining, as we're grateful to have the trailer, but living in a space this small for so long really does get to you. I think we'll both be thrilled when we finally get somewhere we can spread out a little. I know the animals will: We walk them as much as possible, but they really haven't been able to just let loose and run around like crazy for a long time. The only exception is when we take them down the beach and there's nobody else around, so we try to do that as much as possible. hehe

The second dental surgery was supposed to be last week, but had to be rescheduled because I was ill, so we're planning to do it Jan 12... With any luck, there won't be any delays this time.
I'm sorry it's taken me a little longer to write this time, but things have been kind of busy of late. I'm working at home, doing painting for a local shop, and this is their busy season, so I've been getting rush jobs almost every day.
I got the pot you sent... Thank you! It isn't as large as I'm looking for, but it is larger than any that I have right now, so it does make it a little easier when I'm trying to make red beans. I am very appreciative of it!
My second dental surgery had to be postphoned, as I got pretty badly sick at the end of the month again. It not only ensured that I couldn't have the second surgery yet, but also slowed my healing from the first. Between that and finances (recovering from the first one left me unable to work for a few weeks - no income kind of sucks. hehe), having the second done so soon after just wasn't an option. We've rescheduled (hopefully) for the 12th of January.
Ghetto, the new kitten, is fitting in nicely. He and Precious had a pretty rough start at the first, but she has come to accept him. I've even caught her being sweet to him once or twice, so I think they'll be fine. The real shocker for me is that Ghetto and Katrina are becoming best of friends. Ghetto has no fear at all, and the two of them play VERY rough! I stopped them at first, worried that Katrina would hurt Ghetto, but every time, Ghetto fought free of me and ran right back to "attack" Katrina. Ghetto is gonna be one tough little cat! LOL
Anyway, just wanted to check in and let you know how things are going. Hope you're all doing well!
Things are going slowly for us, but they are going. I did have the first dental surgery a couple of weeks ago, and an anonymous group paid for over half of it - That was a huge help! I'm scheduled to have the second on December 1, and then the final surgery after the first of the year. Rod's finger is healing up, though he'll have a pretty obvious scar for a long time because they had to take a pretty big chunk of flesh out of his finger. We've felt pretty bad for the first week, with both of us recovering from medical difficulties. hehe But he's able to bend his finger again, as long as he's careful, and I haven't had any more infections in my upper jaw since the surgery, so overall we're doing very well now!

10/30 Robb emailed me to say that it appears Rod got bit by a spider - sounds like a Brown Recluse from the tissue damage. If they had waited a few more days, it would have gone totally necrotic and he would have lost the finger, if not the hand.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Richard and Barb

Organization Directly Assisting

Barb and Richard
E-mail -
Location - Waveland, MS
Number in household2 – Richard, 78; Barb, 72
SituationRichard built their house after Camille, using scraps and debris that Camille left. This house was flooded and destroyed by Katrina, leaving them with nothing. Richard is now a cancer survivor and is on home oxygen, unable to assist in the rebuilding like he once would have.
Living Arrangements - FEMA trailer beside what was once their home.
Help Received - The Giving Circle, FEMA
Photos -
Needs Since their needs are out of the normal range of the blog (medications, oxygen, etc.) The Giving Circle is asking for monetary donations to be send to them for both a building fund and living fund. Giftcards to WalMart will be graciously accepted. They need another $20,000 to rebuild the home and ongoing funds to assist with daily living.

Please print the following donation card (mark it For Richard and Barb) and send with your donation:
Send to:
The Giving Circle, Inc.
P.O. Box 3162
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Barbara and Richard Bourgeois, the first family selected by The Giving Circle to receive assistance through Pave the Wave, will soon have a new home!Through your generous donations to the Pave the Wave campaign, we were able to prepare Richard and Barbara's land for building and will now be able to help with a generous portion of the cost for materials needed for their new home. The Bourgeois have been issued a grant through Mississippi Home Help that, along with your donations to Pave the Wave, will cover the cost of their new home. A team led by an Amish group that is stationed in Waveland is offering free labor.
Thanks to all of you who have pledged your support by making donations or purchasing a commemorative brick, cornerstone or paving stone that will live on in downtown Waveland as a monument to your compassion. A large stretch of the sidewalk has been mapped out for the bricks and there is plenty of room for more! Progress is occurring in Waveland, but it is slow and help is still needed.
Contributions to Pave the Wave are directed towards home building in Waveland. If you would like to make a donation or order a brick on-line, please visit A Happy, Healthy New Year to all!!


11/14/2006 Students take off their hats for charity
Ron Maenza of The Giving Circle couldn't have been more thrilled Monday when a group of middle school students handed him a check for $3,100. Two dozen students were on hand for the presentation of the money, which will go toward rebuilding Katrina-ravaged Waveland, Miss., where 95 percent of the homes were destroyed last year.
The city of Saratoga Springs, along with local charity organization, The Giving Circle, has adopted the southern city and committed to helping its citizens rebuild.
'It was so uplifting,' Maenza said of Monday's event. 'It was so wonderful to see the involvement of the children; it took your breath away.'
Maenza, president of The Giving Circle, said most of the students' donations will go into a rebuilding fund for a particular family -- Richard and Barbara Bourgeois.
Though many applied for The Giving Circle's assistance, Mr. Bourgeois' story captivated Maenza.'He is nearing the end of his life,' he said. 'He's in a FEMA trailer, and he doesn't want to die there.'
'I told the children how important it was to give to those in Waveland,' Maenza said. 'It enriches you as a person. ... It's part of their learning process.'
The check was the culmination of funds from monthly 'Hats On' days at Maple Avenue Middle School in which students paid $1 to wear hats during school. Because students are not normally allowed to wear hats in school, the 'Hats On' days proved very successful.
'We tried to come up with something that kids could get into,' Principal Stuart Byrne said.
When school started last year, Hurricane Katrina had just hit the Gulf Coast. For Byrne, it was reminiscent of 1992, when Hurricane William hit Florida. He recalled the students gathering supplies in the then-new school and sending them south in a tractor trailer truck.
'I had a flashback,' Byrne said, adding he wanted to do something again.
Though school administrators initially thought they would give the money raised to a national organization like the Red Cross, providing funds for the local initiative The Giving Circle helped personalize the fundraising.
'I think that made a world of difference,' Byrne said. 'Being able to work with a local group that's already identified a community in need down there -- it just made it more personal.'
Maenza couldn't say enough about the generosity of the youths. 'It's nice to see your future is in good hands,' he said.
Maenza said he wants people to realize that even more than a year later, the devastation is still widespread.
'It's going to take generations before it's back to what it was,' he said. 'Each of us has to do a little bit.'
For more information or to make a donation to The Giving Circle, visit the Web site

Labels: , , , , , , ,