Lack of funding could impact local evacuees - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lack of funding could impact local evacuees

Jim and Angela Aldridge never needed a handout until Hurricane Katrina hit. These New Orleans residents sought refuge in Memphis. It's something that has taken plenty of financial support.

"We still need help," says Jim.

But they're discouraged by news that public assistance may be pulled by FEMA at the end of February. That's six months ahead of schedule.

"That's not a lot of time to try and get your life together and prepare for the blow, you know," says Jim.

Like many others, they've gotten money for rent through the Memphis and Shelby County Community Services Agency. It gets money from the state that is reimbursed by FEMA. News of pending cuts has not come easy.

"We would hate to see those folks out on the street," says Jonathan Cole of the CSA.

The Community Services Agency has helped thousands of evacuees bridge the gap. Officials say 80% of those people could be out of luck if this funding runs out.

"You know, a number of people have been able to find employment since they moved to Memphis, but many have not," says Cole. "Many are not going to be able to be independent and self-supporting," he adds.

People like Jim and Angela Aldridge.

"You have millions of dollars going to Iraq for a war that's not popular--we need help here in America," says Jim.

"We need hope--just somebody to show us we're going to hang in there with you--just not put a band-aid on it," says Angela.

They say living through one disaster was enough.

All nine Community Services Agencies across the state of Tennessee have appealed FEMA's decision. They're seeking a six-month extension. FEMA never responded to Action News 5's requests today for an official response.

Powered by Frankly