William Philion, Minot
I am writing in response to an article in The Minot Daily News dated March 29. There was concern about flood victims not applying for the grant money made available because they could no longer supply the $30,000 they were granted by FEMA. They had spent it on other items. When we signed up for the FEMA monies we were told that we needed to keep records of how the money was spent on our rebuilding and not just spent according to our whims. I have overheard flood victims brag of how they spent the money to go to Las Vegas, buy a new boat, a new pickup, on travel and the list goes on.
When I asked to be included in the grant money I was denied because we had rebuilt. What kind of logic is that? We actually had done the work, financed the project with SBA loans, savings, family help and the state and FEMA $30,000.
Now because they have done nothing for two years, the federal government is going to reward many by giving them up to $150,000. Why? My neighbors rolled up their sleeves and rebuilt only to be saddled with more debt. Now the city is asking that the rules of HUD be bent so more victims can get everything free. If the rules are going to be bent, then bend them for all of us. Pay back the money we owe the state, SBA or replenish our life savings. Just because we decided to get something done should we be punished? The same goes for people who don't qualify because of too much income. Wasn't their loss not caused through no fault of theirs? I feel the same about the people who own rental property. Did they not have a loss? Maybe rent wouldn't be so high if they had not had to swallow the whole loss. Why doesn't the city rebuild some of the abandoned houses and rent them out for a small amount? The city has hired a contractor and maybe he could/would do the work.
Maybe my logic is not sound, but I think bending the rules for some and not others is wrong.