Judge Orders FEMA To Resume Post-Hurricane Payments

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Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled that the Bush administration violated the Constitution by denying aid to thousands of Gulf Coast residents who were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Judge Leon ordered FEMA, whom he described as creating a “Kafkaesque” process, to resume payments immediately. The judge pointed out that the agency cut off rental aid without appropriate explanation, and obstructed applicants’ due process rights to correct errors or appeal government mistakes.

It is unfortunate, if not incredible, that FEMA and its counsel could not devise a sufficient notice system to spare these beleaguered evacuees the added burden of federal litigation to vindicate their constitutional rights.

720,590 households received rental assitance, but–as of October 19, only 33,889 remained eligible for assistance. Victim advocates maintain that FEMA has resisted calls to provide details about its programs to storm victims, and has created obstacles for those people to obtain government-mandated aid.

FEMA director David Paulison responded by saying he thought the agency had done “a good job.”

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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