Finding a Way 5 KatrinaReliefFinallyReachesMississippi’sLow-andModerate-IncomeResidents When he was only nine, James Johnson left school to go to work and help his family buy a plot of land in North Gulfport, Mississippi. Years later, in 1946, James inherited that land. He settled down on the parcel and worked for 50 years in the local lumberyard before retiring. And long before he went to sleep on the evening of August 28, 2005, he had a small share of the American dream: His own roof over his head. Four walls to hold them up. Running water. Electricity. Twenty-four hours later, James’s life and the lives of his Gulf Coast neighbors had changed forever. James, by then an elderly man living on social security, was suddenly homeless, his house completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina’s 130-mile-per-hour winds. Although Congress soon established the largest emergency fund in U.S. history to help victims like James rebuild their homes or find new housing, he received only a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailer and $2,000 to cover all of his lost possessions—simply because his home had been damaged by wind and not water. Struggling with severe health issues, James lived in his tiny FEMA trailer for nearly four years in barely sanitary conditions. But in November 2010, Mississippi agreed to provide $132 million for a new Neighborhood Home Program to help James and others who had lost their homes to Katrina’s winds. After years of legal and political efforts by Mintz Levin attorneys, the Lawyers’Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Mississippi activists, low- and moderate- income survivors would finally receive the funds that Congress had set aside to help them. Housing Assistance Denied What happened in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina went far beyond bureaucratic bungling. The help James and so many others were waiting for wasn’t slow to arrive; it was diverted deliberately. In its emergency appropriation, Congress allotted $5.5 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to Mississippi. And although Gov. Haley Barbour quickly set aside Crossing the Tracks  I greatly appreciate and admire your tireless labor in the pursuit of justice. Without your effort, the settlement would not have happened. Shaun Donovan Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in a letter to Mintz Levin’s Noah Shaw continued