WASHINGTON - December 6 - Members of ACORN will conduct press conferences at the U.S. Capitol and three cities around the country on Thursday, Dec. 7, to announce the organization's next steps to pressure FEMA's to comply with a federal judge's orders to "immediately'' resume making housing benefits available to 11,000 survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
In Washington, D.C., 10:30 a.m. (EST), 2220 Rayburn House Office Building
-- Speakers: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA); Rep. Al Green (D-TX); Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX); Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA); Robert Coakley, ACORN Katrina Survivors Association; Mary Spencer, ACORN DC Leader
In New Orleans, 11 a.m., (CST) ACORN National Headquarters, 1024 Elysian Fields Ave.
In Houston, 11:30 a.m. (CST) Houston FEMA office, 2575 W. Belfort In Little Rock, ACORN Office, 2101 S. Main St.
Survivors of Hurricane Katrina and plaintiffs in the lawsuit will speak about their struggles over FEMA housing issues, and their work with public officials to pressure the agency.
On Tuesday, FEMA filed a motion to appeal the decision, but it is still under Court order to resume housing aid. ACORN's attorneys filed a motion in with Judge Richard J. Leon on Tuesday asking him to compel FEMA to produce a compliance plan.
"FEMA is still under a court order restore the housing support they illegally terminated. They haven't moved to do so yet -- even though more families are now facing eviction as December rents come due. ACORN members will continue push FEMA to put a quick procedure in place to get the people the assistance we were wrongly denied," said Wanda Jones, a Katrina Survivor and ACORN member in Houston whose housing assistance was terminated last summer. "It is long past due for FEMA to live up to its responsibilities and help families get on their road home to recovery."
The court ordered the aid restored retroactively, so affected families are to receive checks for past payments from Sept. 1 to now, and continued assistance until February 2007, or until FEMA gives them adequate notice of why they were ineligible. The ruling affects 11,000 families, mostly in Texas and Louisiana, who received FEMA rental assistance.
ACORN, a national community organization based in New Orleans, has organized thousands of dislocated Katrina survivors into local chapters. ACORN has pushed local and federal officials and lawmakers to provide Katrina survivors the assistance needed to take care of their families and rebuild their homes. In New Orleans, ACORN's Home Clean-Out Program has saved over 1,800 homes from decay, and the group and its partners are rebuilding homes in low and moderate income neighborhoods, while pushing for fair and inclusive rebuilding plans. Visit http://www.acorn.org/katrina to learn more.
ACORN is represented by Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid (Jerome Wesevich 915-241-0534) and Public Citizen Litigation Group (Michael T. Kirkpatrick 202-588-1000). The lawsuit and supporting exhibits are posted at: http://www.citizen.org.