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  • The Best Laid-Plans . . .

    FEMA to Halt Debit Cards, Use Bank Deposit
    Sep 09 11:01 PM US/Eastern


    By HOPE YEN
    Associated Press Writer


    WASHINGTON


    The federal government's relief agency said Friday it will discontinue its program to distribute $2,000 debit cards to hurricane victims and use bank deposits instead, two days after hastily announcing the novel plan to provide quick relief.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will scrap the program once officials finish distributing cards this weekend at shelters in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, where many of the evacuees were moved. No cards will be issued to victims in other states.

    Hurricane victims at other locations will have to apply for expedited aid through the agency's traditional route _ filling out information on FEMA's Web site to receive direct bank deposits, FEMA spokeswoman Natalie Rule said.

    "We tried it as an innovative way to get aid to evacuee populations in Texas. We decided it would be more expeditious with direct deposits," she said, citing the large staffing operation that would be required to replicate the Texas operation in other states.

    Under fire for its initial response to the hurricane, FEMA Director Michael Brown had announced the debit card program as a way to quickly get $2,000 to the neediest families and empower them "to make their own decisions about what do they need to have to start rebuilding their lives."

    He did not describe the program as applying only to Texas, which has accepted the largest number of evacuees and is the home state of President Bush, though Rule said that always was the plan.

    The program called for debit cards to be issued to one member of each household and was aimed at people who did not have bank accounts or addresses to receive checks. The cards could be used at any ATM within 24 hours of issuance, faster than traditional FEMA aid, which can take several days or longer to process.

    But from the outset, there was confusion.

    Word spread quickly among the thousands of refugees in the Houston Astrodome following announcement of the program Wednesday. FEMA workers, however, were unaware of the announcement and had no cards to offer.

    On Thursday, the Red Cross began distributing its own debit cards at the Astrodome. The Red Cross assigned appointment times to the refugees, but many people started lining up anyway and waited for hours. Many fainted in the heat, and police had to be brought in for crowd control.

    Around Houston, poor people who heard that the government was giving out money tried to get into the Astrodome complex for cards, prompting officials to lock the gates. By Thursday evening, electronic freeway signs in Houston were flashing, "There are no debit cards at the Astrodome."
    FEMA issued 4,200 cards to families at the Astrodome on Friday, and officials said they were confident they have covered everyone still staying at the shelter.

    Evacuees who were staying outside the main shelter and expected to get cards on Saturday or Sunday must now apply for assistance online at http://www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

    FEMA officials were concerned that people showing up at the Astrodome over the weekend might get angry when they are told they will not receive cards. Tom Costello, FEMA liaison officer for the Houston area, said FEMA workers will be on hand to help them get assistance via other methods.

    "The debit card is just the third of three ways of getting the same amount of assistance," Costello said. "The fastest or preferred way is through a bank account or by requesting a check. This is not a reduction or a change in benefits."
    "You can't handle my opinions." Moedrabowsky

    Jeffro is a hell of a good man.

    "A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel." - Robert Frost

  • #2
    Originally posted by FAR52@Sep 10 2005, 10:07 AM
    FEMA to Halt Debit Cards, Use Bank Deposit
    Sep 09 11:01 PM US/Eastern
     

    By HOPE YEN
    Associated Press Writer


    WASHINGTON


    The federal government's relief agency said Friday it will discontinue its program to distribute $2,000 debit cards to hurricane victims and use bank deposits instead, two days after hastily announcing the novel plan to provide quick relief.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will scrap the program once officials finish distributing cards this weekend at shelters in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, where many of the evacuees were moved. No cards will be issued to victims in other states.

    Hurricane victims at other locations will have to apply for expedited aid through the agency's traditional route _ filling out information on FEMA's Web site to receive direct bank deposits, FEMA spokeswoman Natalie Rule said.

    "We tried it as an innovative way to get aid to evacuee populations in Texas. We decided it would be more expeditious with direct deposits," she said, citing the large staffing operation that would be required to replicate the Texas operation in other states.

    Under fire for its initial response to the hurricane, FEMA Director Michael Brown had announced the debit card program as a way to quickly get $2,000 to the neediest families and empower them "to make their own decisions about what do they need to have to start rebuilding their lives."

    He did not describe the program as applying only to Texas, which has accepted the largest number of evacuees and is the home state of President Bush, though Rule said that always was the plan.

    The program called for debit cards to be issued to one member of each household and was aimed at people who did not have bank accounts or addresses to receive checks. The cards could be used at any ATM within 24 hours of issuance, faster than traditional FEMA aid, which can take several days or longer to process.

    But from the outset, there was confusion.

    Word spread quickly among the thousands of refugees in the Houston Astrodome following announcement of the program Wednesday. FEMA workers, however, were unaware of the announcement and had no cards to offer.

    On Thursday, the Red Cross began distributing its own debit cards at the Astrodome. The Red Cross assigned appointment times to the refugees, but many people started lining up anyway and waited for hours. Many fainted in the heat, and police had to be brought in for crowd control.

    Around Houston, poor people who heard that the government was giving out money tried to get into the Astrodome complex for cards, prompting officials to lock the gates. By Thursday evening, electronic freeway signs in Houston were flashing, "There are no debit cards at the Astrodome."
    FEMA issued 4,200 cards to families at the Astrodome on Friday, and officials said they were confident they have covered everyone still staying at the shelter.

    Evacuees who were staying outside the main shelter and expected to get cards on Saturday or Sunday must now apply for assistance online at http://www.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.

    FEMA officials were concerned that people showing up at the Astrodome over the weekend might get angry when they are told they will not receive cards. Tom Costello, FEMA liaison officer for the Houston area, said FEMA workers will be on hand to help them get assistance via other methods.

    "The debit card is just the third of three ways of getting the same amount of assistance," Costello said. "The fastest or preferred way is through a bank account or by requesting a check. This is not a reduction or a change in benefits."
    My brother works at Famous in South County, he said somebody came in yesterday with one of those debit cards and bought $400 in Estee Lauder. Who needs food and clothing if you can't do your makeup :o

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not surprised.

      Giving them cash or credit is a bad idea.

      Food, clothing, shelter and safety plus an opportunity to put their lives back together. That's all that should be expected.
      Go Cards ...12 in 13.


      Comment


      • #4
        This reminds me of the countless news reports of the same 3 or 4 shootings .. in terms of framing and focus.
        Damn these electric sex pants!

        26+31+34+42+44+46+64+67+82+06 = 10

        Bring back the death penalty for corporations!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TTB@Sep 10 2005, 10:21 AM
          I'm not surprised.

          Giving them cash or credit is a bad idea.

          Food, clothing, shelter and safety plus an opportunity to put their lives back together. That's all that should be expected.
          Right.

          People should be given vouchers that entitle them to those neccessary items, not makeup.
          Make America Great For Once.

          Comment


          • #6
            Folks, FEMA was about to make a MAJOR F-UP!!!

            The following memo was taken from an e-mail at my job. I work at a major credit card processor.

            ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            We have received more information regarding these MasterCards. These cards can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. The American Red Cross MasterCard has restrictions on its use. It cannot be used for alcohol, weapons, or tobacco. The FEMA card has no restrictions. See the attached Word document for a picture of the cards.

            -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

            FEMA had NO RESTRICTIONS on those card.
            Make America Great For Once.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by The Kev@Sep 10 2005, 10:21 AM
              Folks, FEMA was about to make a MAJOR F-UP!!!

              The following memo was taken from an e-mail at my job. I work at a major credit card processor.

              ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

              We have received more information regarding these MasterCards. These cards can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted. The American Red Cross MasterCard has restrictions on its use. It cannot be used for alcohol, weapons, or tobacco. The FEMA card has no restrictions. See the attached Word document for a picture of the cards.

              -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

              FEMA has NO CLUE.
              fixed
              Sponsor of Alex Pieterangelo.

              ..."I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." George Best

              Comment


              • #8
                Another brilliant fucked up decision by our federal government. Just about every decision they have made has pretty much shown that they are out of touch with reality.
                “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

                Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Amazing, isn't it?

                  I could just imagine the line out the doors at Dirt Cheap.
                  Make America Great For Once.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AWSmith98+Sep 10 2005, 09:11 AM-->
                    QUOTE(AWSmith98 @ Sep 10 2005, 09:11 AM)

                  • #11
                    And these debit cards would have been different from welfare how exactly?
                    Of course you do.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by ShortHop@Sep 10 2005, 08:04 PM
                      And these debit cards would have been different from welfare how exactly?
                      No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true
                      President George W. Bush, March 21, 2006

                      I'm a war president
                      President George W. Bush, February 8, 2004

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I won't go as far as saying this is welfare. I mean afterall, they have no jobs to go to. However, FEMA's plan would have been a disaster.
                        Make America Great For Once.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          I wonder how many enterprising individuals went down there with cash and started offering people $1000 or $1200 cash for the $2000 cards?

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Damon@Sep 10 2005, 08:56 PM
                            I wonder how many enterprising individuals went down there with cash and started offering people $1000 or $1200 cash for the $2000 cards?
                            No doubt that happened. When it was fist announced that debit cards were going to be issued, I had great reservations.

                            IMO, the Feds should have made arrangements with the like of Lowes, Home Depot, Pennys, Sears, KMart, and the like to accept vouchers for products they offer. That would eliminate con-artists.
                            Make America Great For Once.

                            Comment

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