Politicians Address After Ike Concerns

Representatives from Congress, state and local officials all met at the George R. Brown Convention Center this morning to talk about relief efforts after Hurricane Ike. Bill Stamps has this report.
You could sum up the entire meeting with this one statement by Albert Myers whose in charge of the local Hurricane Ike Relief fund.

"It is extremely confusing to folks of what's taking place between FEMA, the insurance companies and SBA."

Meyers says he hears the frustration of people everywhere he goes. And they all have similar stories.

"Well, we're trying to figure out what the insurance company is going to do. In the midst, we're trying to figure out what FEMA is going to do based on the insurance and then in the midst of that not sure what the SBA is going to do and in the midst of all that, they're still suffering cause nothing is taking place."

There were representatives from Congress, state and local officials as well as FEMA, the Small Business Association and insurance representatives. The goal was to come up with ways to better serve hurricane victims now and in the future.

Mayor Bill White says people aren't just frustrated, they're confused on what to do. He gave this example:

"I'm waiting for the insurance adjuster and should I remove my tree from my bedroom? And if we don't remove the tree by... and get the tree chipped and moved to its ultimate disposal site within four days from now then FEMA says they won't reimburse us 100-percent."

There were a lot of questions raised at this meeting but not a lot of answers were given.

Some good news was reported about the Relief Fund Effort. Along With singer Beyonce Knowles 100-thousand dollar donation earlier this week, Albert Meyers says legendary singer Neil Diamond is getting involved.

"He had dedicated his next 20 concerts to raising money for the Ike fund. And as of last week he's already donated 500-thousand dollars just based on two concerts."

As the meeting came to a close, it was ironic that they were talking about helping people who have damaged homes or lost power….and then the lights went out. Mayor White jokingly said 'call Centerpoint right away'.

(sound: laughter)

Bill Stamps KUHF Houston Public Radio News.