After Hurricane  Katrina, how did cities like Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, help the Katrina victims?  What type of emergency housing arrangements were made for...

After Hurricane  Katrina, how did cities like Houston, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, help the Katrina victims?  What type of emergency housing arrangements were made for the evacuees when they arrived in the different cities?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Cities like Houston, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia, especially helped out in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina by accepting and integrating New Orleans' evacuees.

Particularly for Houston, two-thirds of the evacuees took shelter in Houston, most of which were not able to get out of New Orleans until the levees broke. Houston placed the evacuees in 35,000 empty apartments, and quickly integrated evacuee students into their public school system. Houston found that promptly placing evacuees in apartments as opposed to temporary emergency shelters saved the government a great deal of money. The Houston public school system took in about 21,000 students of all levels. When it soon became evident that the evacuee students were earning lower marks in their standardized skills tests, Houston quickly set up after-school and summer tutoring programs.

Atlanta, Georgia, received more evacuees than Houston, approximately 100,000, but one advantage is that most of the evacuees went to Atlanta because they already had families and friends in Atlanta, while those who went to Houston did so as an emergency escape route. The day after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane, on August 29, 2005, the Atlanta Red Cross opened up short-term emergency shelters for the evacuees. Then, organizations like Atlanta Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA), and other housing authorities, non-profit organizations, and churches helped establish the evacuees in long-term housing. Atlanta also saw to it that evacuee hospital patients in New Orleans were transferred to Atlanta hospitals. Atlanta also saw to the needs of mental illness patients by having the Department of Human Resources Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Addictive Diseases create Project Hope to help relocate evacuees with mental illnesses and see to their emotional and and other needs. Georgia workforce boards were also given grant money to help see to the employment of evacuees and reintegrate them into the state of Georgia. Finally, as far as schooling goes, under the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act, homeless students must be immediately admitted into the school system without needing student records or health records, so Georgia allowed all evacuee students to be enrolled in the school system as homeless students.

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