From Monday, September 05, 2005
If you want to get an idea of the enormous cross-section of humanity rushing to the aid of Katrina’s victims, you have to look no further than www.hurricanehousing.org
A site set up to put people in need of housing in touch with the people who have room to share, a quick breeze through will leave your emotions muddled by not only inspirational, earnest, and overwhelmingly generous offers; it will also make you simultaneously smile, cringe and, at times, roll your eyeballs right out of your head.
For example, from the generous and inspirational:
"We actually live in northern Virginia, but I want to offer this possibility to a family willing to relocate and start a new life in a new place….Our schools are the finest in the country and welcoming undocumented children displaced by Katrina. We have 6 children still at home - down from 12 - and a huge house. We can take in a family and give them the nicely-finished basement which consists of several rooms and a bathroom. We would share the kitchen and laundry room on the first floor. We have some backers who will help with transportation and acquiring what you need to get started. School buses stop at our front door. I homeschool one of my kids and also have a fully equipped preschool room we can share. We moved here three years ago and have loved it. The area is beautiful and the people friendly. The economy is booming. We are a Christian family, but our doors are open to any family who feels this might be the next step for them. We will raise money to fly you here from friends, neighbors, and church. We will commit to helping you make a new start. We've been down that road ourselves and are confident you can do it too. We want to help."See, now why can’t they all sound like the above offer? Kind, open, no out-of-hand assumption that the person considering the offer is a lunatic or morally bankrupt.
Or this one from a person who is willing to share the little they have:
"Willing to house Mother and small children no more then 3 total. We have one room available, that the family will have to share. We don't have much but what we do have we will be more then willing to share. willing to house indefinitely."“Willing to house indefinitely.” Not many people have that kind of commitment to loving their fellow man.
And then, there is an ad that says simply
"My house is your house."
Honestly - and in fact - many of the offers do read like the above three. And in reading all these offers of outstretched arms, you are left with a warm glow right in the middle of your chest where your heart had been ripped out by the events of last week.
"We can provide housing for a single mother and a newborn child ( we will consider a second child if the child is a toddler or younger). We have a three bedroom plus an additional sofa sleeper. The houseguest is not allowed to smoke or drink in the home and THEY MUST ATTEND CHURCH!!!!"Jeepers…would that be the CHURCH OF SHOUTING AT YOU!!!!!!! Count me out.
"I live alone, and I can provide temporary housing to a young to middle aged female, with no strings attached. I am close to public transit, as well as being able to set you up in your own bedroom. My income is limited, but I will help in whatever way I can. I have access to the internet, as well. I live in a very good area of town. Smoking is okay, but not indoors, please. Only those who are in need; no druggies, hookers, or anyone who is not an actual victim of this terrible ordeal. God bless all."God bless all…except, possibly, the druggies and hookers.
"We're vegetarian and ask that meat not be eaten (at least not by humans) in our house."Bummer that your own house and job and everything you own is gone. Now, uh, could you please give your cheeseburger to the dog?
"I don't care for pets and no drugs. No small children, because I work around children all day."I think Mother Theresa said that same thing one time.
"There is no smoking in the home,we will treat you like family and expect you to pick up what you mess up. Simple things like not leaving lights on when not a room, using coasters with drinks is all we ask."oh my gosh…coasters?…I’m having an anxiety attack already. I’m surprised they didn’t list “don’t wear your flood shoes in the house and please rinse the tadpoles out of your pockets.”
"I'm sorry, but because of the state of the world, protecting our family comes first and we will conduct a phone interview and meet in person before allowing anyone to come to our home."The state of the world? The whole world? Awww, come on now. I think that most Norwegians are quite lovely people.
"We'll talk about your situation...and see if you qualify to stay in our home... "Sorry. You don’t sound needy enough. Next.
Now, for a giggle…
"We can deliver a Pop-up camper to your site. You must be in need of housing…."
Hey, lookee here! A free Pop-up camper! Oh…wait a second…well, darnit, they say you “must be in need of housing“. I thought this was the freecycle site, and we were going to go camping.
"Housing for 7 people. I am looking for males only."Sigh. Aren’t we all…aren’t we all….
"One bedroom available with double bed, one single futon, one lumpy sofa."No sin in being too honest. And really, isn’t any comfy sofa worth its cushions just a little lumpy?
"Due to the fact I have small children, I am weary of housing adults, mainly adult males."I think she means “wary”, but oh Honey, do I hear you on “weary”.
"Children are VERY welcome in our house (as we have four of them, all boys). Our house is not very quiet so if you are looking for that type of household then our house would not be for you."No worries. I’m sure it’s not as loud as the Astrodome. Unless your boys all regularly play with megaphones.
"You are also welcome to use our pool and jacuzzi. You are welcome to use any of my exercise equipment or my computer."Wow. That’s more than my own neighbors offer me.
"There is a balcony for smokers (although my husband would not be thrilled, I would be fine with it; I sneak cigarettes all the time). "Not anymore, you don’t, now that you’ve posted it on the Internet. :0P
Ah well…after foaming at the mouth for the past five days, reading this site ultimately did my heart good.
And I don’t know that anyone would want to travel to Pennsylvania and live with us, seeing as neither of our showers are working right now. And our cat keeps peeing on the rug every time she accidentally gets shut in a room. And my kids are as loud as tubas.
But, if the need be, I’ll air out our lumpy futon and lock the cat in the basement. Our noisy, showerless house is yours.
Speaking of which, I’ve just found this:
"Sorry, but we are actually located mid-way between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe CA (about an hour from each) 1.5 miles from the tiny farming town of Camino. We are 2 teachers with no children at home. We have a large home on 2 acres tucked between 2 apple orchards. We can offer 2 bedrooms and a bathroom (and of course full use of the rest of the house). One bedroom has a double bed, the other has a double bed and a couch. We can also offer the use of a car. We have rabbits, emus, donkeys, goats, sheep, alpacas, and a goose. This is a great place for anyone looking for a quiet, relaxing place to recover. I know it's far from home but we would love to have you."
Well, everyone, nice knowing you, but I’m moving to Sacramento. Honey, you can give my room to a single, female refugee from the hurricane. But, only if she’s a hooker. Who knows her way around plumbing. Eh-hem.
I’ll leave my shiny clothes collection in the closet for her.