Waiting For Government Help

Have you seen this news story? It’s not really new. Two years on and many victims of Sandy are still waiting on their promised government help in rebuilding. The Archdruid wrote something interesting recently, that’s stuck with me; measure the gap between the needed crisis response, and what is actually getting to people on the ground, to measure a part of the Long Descent.

As a second New Year since Superstorm Sandy approaches, many coastal residents are still waiting for New York, New Jersey and New York City to distribute billions of federal dollars that were intended to go directly to people struggling to rebuild their homes.

Only a fraction of that money has been spent, leaving storm victims at the mercy of a frustrating maze of bureaucracy. Depending on where they live, the checks could be anywhere from days to many more months away.

 

I fully expect government help after disasters like this to get longer, slower, less helpful and more iffy as my life goes on. Sure, there will still be rescue helicopters plucking people off of roofs for a long time yet. But the cleanup, the rebuilding? Those will probably get shoved back onto states and counties to deal with. Gradually at first, quietly, but there’s no chance the suit-monkeys in Washington won’t do it.

Clearly a better idea is to plan to take care of yourself.  Buy a small enough house and live below your means, save enough so that you can rebuild if necessary. With the price of materials doing nothing but going up, that could mean a house that’s shockingly small by modern American Standards.  But when it’s the difference between having your own roof over your head again in a few months or a few years? Surely that has to outweigh the need to keep up with the Jones.

It’s just my opinion of course, but preparing for your flavor of regional disaster probably needs to be more than just lining up a shelter place during the crisis. You need to consider, how are you going to rebuild? Are you going to have the funds available? You’ll be much more comfortable in the long run if you’ve got a plan other than waiting for your government check to arrive.

– Calamity Jane

 

10 comments… add one
  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. January 7, 2014, 7:42 am

    Good advice – the media certainly tends to ignore certain topics when a left leaning administration is in charge. This is one of them – I’m sure Obamacare Care and immigration reform will sweep this under the rug. This one affects republicans as well, so they won’t bring it up either.

    Its beginning to look like keeping a small travel travel trailer in a safe location may be a ‘just in case’ option. Purchased used, not a huge investment and having a place to stay indefinitely (albeit cramped) does have advantages. Your property could be used as the camp.

    I’m sort of surprised that the Katrina ‘trailers’ aren’t being used for this – or maybe they are, I just haven’t heard about it.

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  • riverrider January 7, 2014, 9:01 am

    what’s truly despicable is the states of ny/nj are sitting on the money in hopes that people will give up and rebuild themselves, so the state can use the money on their pet projects. further, congress stuck in billions in pork to the “rescue” bill including money for alaska fish processing and advertizing overseas for tennessee whiskey owned by pelosi’s husband, and refinishing a racetrack in new hampshire owned by another congressional spouse. ny already used a bunch of their cash on an art center far away from the affected areas. toss in the union labor only mandate which is a license to steal for the mob. we’re on our own folks, unless of course you’re one of this week’s favored minorities.

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  • ORRN on LI January 7, 2014, 9:46 am

    This is an issue on Long Island that drives me CRAZY!! I agree NY/NJ drag their feet in giving the victims their $$$, just like it is the policy of EVERY insurance company to deny claims enough times hoping the people will just incur the cost themselves. (Meanwhile they’re making record profits and CEO’s multimillion bonuses for not paying out the $$ ) But, in the fine print at the ends of the stories about homeowners not getting their relief money, many of these homes SHOULD NOT BE REBUILT!! They are in places that have flooded in the past, and will flood again. We the taxpayers are footing this bill. Long Island is all about the beautiful beaches and waterfront, Mother Nature placed this sandbar here, and home owners don’t want to face the fact that their driveway is now an inlet from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great South Bay. No amount of my money is going to change that, they need to stop rebuilding in places that continually flood and wash away, sorry, you have to move. I might also add they get fed $$, tax payers money, to rebuild their multimillion dollar homes and reinforce their waterfront property, and don’t even think of plopping your beach towel down on their “private property.” Sorry about the ramble on, but my Sandy home repairs came out of my pocket. Don’t get me started on extending unemployment ‘benefits’!!

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    • Babycatcher January 7, 2014, 12:06 pm

      You are absolutely right! I watched the This Old House series where they went toManasquan, Point Pleasant and Bay Head…my grandparents lived in Asbury Park, so the territory was not unfamiliar to me, but I hadn’t been south of Ocean Grove for many years…my first thought was…what the crap were those people thinking?? No pilings, no protection, no nothing? Even NC residents had more sense than that! I think most of the people who lived right on the shore or on the inlets ought to either rebuild on pilings, or be given a less substantial check and court ordered to relocate away from the water, thereby essentially returning that area to its natural state….

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    • riverrider January 8, 2014, 8:43 am

      dead on! while vacationing on santa rosa island, fla., news at the local diner was a hurricane approaching way off. i overheard a homeowner say” i hope it comes this way, i need a new roof anyway.” i turned around to address him much to my wife’s horror, only to find he was talking to the local sheriff. discression being the better part of valor and not wanting to extend my vacation in a jail cell, i deferred. we had a town on the river that constantly flooded. fema finally told them move or no more money. too much money on the beach tho.

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    • teabag January 22, 2014, 9:45 pm

      another long islander agrees. people who lost their flood-prone homes should only be given money to rebuild if they rebuild in a place where they won’t get flooded every time there’s a nor’easter or hurricane in the neighborhood. and if you’re a millionaire living on dune road, you can afford to pay yourself if you want to rebuild there.

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  • Pineslayer January 7, 2014, 10:31 am

    As with all Government contracts the entity in charge steals 30% off the top, then they get to earn some interest off of the rest as it sits in their account. No incentive to do the right thing.

    I have to agree that some of those houses should not be rebuilt, but the same could be said about tornado alley, mountain living, and hurricane prone areas. There are few areas that aren’t in Mother Nature’s bulls eye. No easy answer for that problem.

    The earmarks in every frickin’ bill has to stop. Ridiculous.

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  • GoneWithTheWind January 7, 2014, 4:19 pm

    I think governments at all levels should provide rescue, medical and law enforcement help in any crisis. I do not think they should be paying peoples bills or paying to rebuild homes etc. During Katrina the Coast Guard did an excellent job of helping people but the billions and billions that the federal government sent after the storm was largely wasted or stolen.

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  • anothermom January 7, 2014, 8:27 pm

    What you also need to look at is how the two storms Sandy and Irene were funded, and how much media coverage they were each given. The upstate folks took care of their own, while the downstate folks looked to the state.
    I do understand that there are less people upstate then downstate, but an entire town was wiped out, along with many other homes. I knew of people who gambled that they would be able to get back home when they left for work in the morning because of road closures. And I also know of many people who brought many items up the mountain to assist people.

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  • smokechecktim January 8, 2014, 1:33 pm

    Almost every spring rivers in the midwest flood and homes get washed away. The media will interview some poor soul who lost every thing and has no insurance. They have no insurance because they built on a FLOOD PLAIN! What part of flood confused them.
    A good idea to protect yourself is to go to a contractor that you trust and ask how much per square foot it would cost to rebuilt your house. This will give you an idea as to how much insurance you will need. You need to do this every 3-5 years. We had nasty wildfires in 2003 and there are still many people who never rebuilt because they were underinsured and there wasnt enough money to rebuild

    Reply

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