Internet database needed for Katrina refugees


Gary DeYoung of San Antonio writes with an excellent idea and a kind offer:

With the thousands of displaced families spreading out from New Orleans looking for a place to live while their city is rebuilt, you might think that one of the larger relief organizations would have a means in place for people to volunteer to open their homes to Katrina victims.  I have searched in vain — and frustratingly, nobody seems to be working to match displaced families up with people with spare bedrooms

A Red Cross volunteer told me on the phone that they have to use their own shelters for liability reasons. Even as far as San Antonio (where I live), the Red Cross said they filled up a shelter yesterday with 60 people and expected another 40 today, which would require another shelter.  I applaud the Red Cross and they are an excellent way to channel financial contributions to the disaster area.  But I think some people would prefer to live in a home rather than in a shelter while their own homes are rebuilt. 

I can accommodate two additional people in my home, and can be contacted at  And I think that FEMA should create an online database of people who are willing to share their homes in the event of a natural disaster! 

To which I can only add: Thanks, Gary — ed