by SABRINA PARKER
The Advancement Project, a group advocating for racial justice, parked a FEMA trailer downtown during the lunch rush Tuesday. The group invited anyone walking by to tour the trailer that only used two parking spaces.
Displaced New Orleans residents were also on hand giving tours and describing their situations, all to bring attention to the affordable housing crises in New Orleans.
The stand comes just a week after the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced the demolition of thousands of undamaged public housing units.
“The fight isn’t over,” said New Orleans resident Sharon Jasper. She said that the poor working families who built New Orleans, paid taxes and held leases have been pushed out by the government.
“You’re not going to kick us to the curb,” she promised.
Homelessness has doubled since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and rental rates are higher than ever.
In the master bedroom of the FEMA trailer, a thin mattress sits on a plywood bed frame. The shower is powered by a garden hose that feeds from the same line as other trailers. Fuel for hot water while cooking and heating is provided by two propane tanks. It sounds like the setup for a weekend camping trip, but many Katrina victims have been living in these conditions for two years.
Katrina survivor Theophilus Moore described the living situation as claustrophobic. He said that adults have a hard time fitting into the bathroom and bunk beds.
“How can I use this bathroom?” Moore asked stepping into the bathtub. His head grazed the ceiling.
Moore represents one of the 4,000 public housing families still displaced after the 2005 storm.
The residents in front of the FEMA trailer asked Congress to help them get home. A bill providing affordable housing for Gulf Coast residents is on Capitol Hill today.