Rocky Road Home

ACORN Financial Justice Ideas and Issues Personal Writings

New Orleans Coming from the airport in the rain, I was surprised to see the crowd on the office porch and the live TV trucks with their 50 foot high antennas parked in the neutral ground in front of the office. I wondered if I would be able to get into my office because my keys were not with me, but that turned out to be no problem since a press conference was still finishing as I walked in the door. Was it just another exciting, stormy day in New Orleans? No, this was the Road Home!

July 31st marked the end of one piece of the road, since the deadline for filing for benefits was expiring. But, despite recent improvements that have forced money (FINALLY!) into tens of thousands of the more than 150,000 applicants hands, the last day was chaos as people tried to beat the deadline. Computers and staff at Road Home seemed to have been overwhelmed and a hastily called, impromptu press conference saw ACORN leaders demanding an extension to handle the demands. Front page stories in the Times-Picayune this morning detailed last minute applications pushed through with ACORN’s encouragement. One woman, Karen Diaz, had wondered why she should bother since so many reports in the news had indicated that there was a 5 Billion dollar shortfall, until she had been cajoled into applying. There seems to be no end in sight to the Road Home drama.

Times Picayune caption: Road Home staffers Arrington Pickens, left, and Dedria Bailey help a Road Home applicant with his paperwork. The women were taking applications at the Road Home office in Kenner during the last day.