People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

When the road leads nowhere

Posted by schroeder915 on December 11, 2006

Ray in New Orleans is a housegutting machine. He recently got a good soul food meal, and lot’s to think about at a Common Ground site:

There is no Road Home for renters, there was no renters insurance, so everything he owned is gone and isn’t coming back and there’s nobody around who’s going to help him replace it. …

So he has a chicken and egg problem. One of the many chicken and egg problems that people face. He can’t rent his own place without a job, but he can’t get his old job back without first getting his own place. So he feeds the Common Ground house gutters while he tries to sort out how to get sorted out.

You might think that was posted sometime last year after Hurricane Katrina. Surely people must be moving on with their lives by now, right?


Ray posted that story YESTERDAY. Hard-working people who CAN work, who have skills, are being punished because the federal disaster response to the federal disaster has been a pathetic disaster.

2 Responses to “When the road leads nowhere”

  1. F P said

    What happens when people move Back? What happens to communities when people are back together? How does this affect crime. How do all these individuals add up to support local small business and local tax base? On the surface the answers to these questions seem pretty straight forward and simple. But if you take just one aspect of getting people back home and contributing to their communities you can begin to see how important it is. Take crime for example, how would you like to reduce crime by 40%. Becuase a study published in 1997 by the Harvard School of Public Health found that community spirit and willingness to get involved reduces violent crime by as much as 40 percent. The study found that race and income were not factors in determining whether people were willing to watch out for one another. The key factor was whether or not there was a sense of community. Neighbors do not need to be formally organized or have close relationships to have an impact. According to University of Chicago sociologist Robert Sampson, ‘we’re talking about people just having a shared sense of responsibility.’

    Design of our neighborhoods, streets and houses can play an important role in helping to create a sense of community. Seattle officials have noticed a decrease in crime when a community garden is established. Allowing a mix of uses with a nearby corner grocery store, as pointed out by Jane Jacobs in Death and Life of Great American Cities, also helps build a sense of community as do small neighborhood parks and shared courtyards. Grocery stores, parks, neighborhood schools, community centers and other destinations close to residential areas encourages people to walk and puts more eyes on the street at all hours of the day or night. You can’t put eyes on the street if you can’t put people and small businesses back into the local community.

    If we can get the road home program moving everyone will benefit, not just the people we put back into the community but the whole community. Big retailers as well as small businesses will make more money, entergy will have more customers and our local police forces can relax a little.

  2. Ray said

    Thanks, Schroeder, but I ain’t nothing. The real righteous folks are the Common Ground kids who put their lives on hold for months at a time and come live down here, gutting houses six days a week. And it’s not even their city.

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