South Mississippians React To FEMA Cutback - - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippians React To FEMA Cutback

Gene Calcote is finally seeing some progress at his home on Beard's Cove. Even though his house is 12 feet off the ground, Katrina dumped 7 feet of water inside.

"The house has been finished from the last time you were out here, the upstairs. I'm working on the downstairs. It will be finished. I've completed everything out on the docks and I'm just glad to be in it, and out of the FEMA trailer," said Calcote.

FEMA actually provided him with more than a trailer.

He was one of thousands who received an emergency relief payout of $2,000, but he understands why the agency says in the future it will be cutting back on what it gives out.

"The $2000 to $500 is a drastic cut, but a lot of people got money that didn't even need it. And people that could help themselves, should have helped themselves. Every little bit they done, I appreciate it, but I really don't think the federal government should have to support the people when a storm like this comes. You got to step up to the bat and support yourself," said Calcote.

But Charlene McBroom, who is still living in a FEMA trailer park and was ineligible to receive the payout, believes $500 will not even get most people out of the dugout.

"I don't think that $500 is gonna cut it. That ain't gonna replace the clothes I lost, much less the food that was in my freezer and all that. My medicine alone, I'm on Dilantin, is $48 a month. $500? It ain't gonna happen. The clothes that I'm wearing right now were given to me from my church," said McBroom.

FEMA representatives say the $500 would be intended only for food, clothing and fuel costs, not for housing assistance.

The organization says $500 would be adequate enough to get through the first few days after a disaster, however more money could be issued based on needs.

By Karla Redditte

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