Members of Congress are back in town.
During the congressional recess, members on both sides of the aisle denounced the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina. Some of the harshest criticism was leveled by Rep. Maxine Waters who is chair of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity of the House Financial Services Committee, which has oversight responsibility for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
At the recent public forum on Gulf Coast recovery and renewal at Dillard University, Waters said:
HUD used Katrina as an opportunity to tear down public housing in this area. People don't trust HANO and HUD, and they have good reason not to trust them.
Waters was just getting started:
I'm unhappy with everybody. State government, the Road Home program is a mess. Local leadership is not strong enough.
Waters is the sponsor of H.R. 1227, the "Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007," which passed on a 302-125 vote last March. The bill provides some solutions to the affordable housing crisis in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.
Nearly six months later, the measure is languishing in the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, whose chairman is Sen. Chris Dodd.
She called on citizens to get involved to "change policy and make things happen."
Be the agent of change you've been hoping for and call your senators at 888/226-0627. Ask why they have not walked the walk and sponsored Waters' bill.