Campus Column

Getting better, 1 line at a time

nmurphy@foghornnews.com

@foghorn_murphy

My family and I are finally settled in our new home. The kids are staring at their new school, my husband is back to work and I am back to at DMC.

Getting back to routine is one of the most comforting feelings I’ve had in quite a while. However, many others are still not able to get into routines.

FEMA has extended hotel vouchers for those still displaced because so many people still don’t have a place to live.

The extension will go until Oct. 9, buying an extra two weeks for those who are still displaced, but it doesn’t do anything to ease the anxiety of being homeless.

The extension also does not help that fact that almost all of the local hotels accepting FEMA are full and most of them indefinitely.

Trying to find a room within 50 miles is almost impossible. This makes it harder for people to get back to work, continue working on their homes and get their kids back into school.

Don’t get me wrong, having at least a warm (or cool in the case of South Texas), dry, mosquito-free place to stay is a huge blessing; however, it simply does not compare to having a home.

One of the biggest expenses, aside from shelter, that many are facing is food.

Before Harvey we had a fridge filled with all the normal things you might expect to find: eggs, milk, condiments, lunchmeats and cheeses and so on. We also had a chest freezer full of meat. Some was store bought; some was meat that my husband and family harvested like venison.

Our insurance company assessed a value of over $750 on the food that we lost. Many other people have faced similar losses.

The state of Texas has offered disaster food stamps, or D-SNAP, for thousands of people who meet certain criteria.

Thousands, including myself, lined up for hours at a time to apply. The line in Sinton, for San Patricio County residents, snaked back and forth through a field beside the Health and Human Services building.

The assistance being offered is much needed for the communities. However, it meant facing down another agonizing long line on hot days, a line that for many ended in denial.

D-SNAP was not made available online (cards were handed out upon approval). This means that anyone wanting to apply had to do so in person. The local offices in a lot of towns are still closed so it meant traveling to wherever there was a center set up for your county.

For some this meant missing more work or school (sorry Professor Kramer). Those without vehicles had to make arrangements to find transportation. Some families had to bring small children with them, in the heat for hours.

Harvey has gone from a bad storm to what seems like a series of never ending lines to be waited in.

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