Friday, January 06, 2006

Milking the system

County, Hosanna join to repair homes, Valley News Dispatch, Jan. 6, 2006, p. A3-4Today's Valley News Dispatch had an article reporting that Allegheny County and Hosanna Industries had accomplished their goal of repairing 500 homes damaged by the flooding from Hurricane Ivan. Some of those homes were in Tarentum.

The article tells about a small number of the assisted victims who nevertheless assign blame for their situation to the volunteers who helped them. One Tarentum resident accepted $30,000 of materials used to fix his home and then blamed the volunteers for not doing the repairs to his satisfaction. He gave his home to the mortgage company.

The Hurricane Ivan floods were truly devastating to parts of Tarentum, particularly for those families who had not maintained flood insurance even though their homes were in a flood plain. It is sad that people live at that level of poverty, and it is a good thing that there were generous people willing to give generously in order to help them to be restored to something like the life they had before the flood. But I wonder whether it would not have been kinder to help them simply get a fresh start on higher ground.

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