Managing Harvey

Some ideas for managing the mess of recovery - I'm thinking Triage, which uses the following categories:
First responders using START evaluate victims and assign them to one of the following four categories:
    1. Immediate (red)
    2. Delayed (yellow)
    3. Walking wounded/minor (green)
    4. Deceased/expectant (black)

    This category is the one that gets immediate attention. In medical patients, it's the person who, without immediate assistance, would die.

    For disaster victims, this would be business/hospitals/gas stations/restaurants/insurance agencies, etc., that provide vital resources, and whose facilities can be cleared out relatively quickly. Get those businesses back on their feet, and, they will not only provide services, relieving the rescue groups, but also provide employment and cash flow.

    Local businesses should get the most help; the nationally-affiliated companies should get involved with their local businesses in need.


    Here I would group the bars/clothing stores/office supply stores, etc. - they are important, but the economy could survive without their quick resuscitation.

    Walking Wounded

    They are in need of help, but can provide most of it themselves. They can clean out their own business, contact the insurance companies, provide for their own equipment needs, security, etc. They might occasionally need a question answered, but can mostly function on their own.


    Not gonna come back - pull the plug. They will need to work with their insurance company for a payout, but they are not going to re-build.

    If any business is under-insured, that's their problem. Direct them to a lending source, and leave them alone.

    That's the business side of things. But, individuals follow the same pattern.


    Here, the issue is focused on getting those individuals who have lost everything out of your hair.

    You are NOT going to solve all their problems. You cannot restore them to where they were, without massive infusions of cash. For this group, they will continue to call upon your resources for years to come, if you let them.

    Who are they?
    1. The long-term unemployed. I'm going to separate those that are not disabled from the rest. If that person did not have a job before Harvey, but is not disabled, they should be offered a job in a clean-up crew for their keep in a shelter. No work, no shelter - and, I'm talking 8-12 hour days. Pay them for their work, but let them know - this is TEMPORARY work. It will pay for the shelter costs, and a little bit more, which they can save to get back on their feet. NOT a 'Living Wage" - it should make them uncomfortable enough to find other means to support themselves.
    2. Women with kids - bring in child care workers, but get those women working. Other than those with under 6 month-old kids, EVERYBODY works (at least 1 adult per household - so, the more traditional families can have the father/husband be the worker). If they are not working at something else, they do child care, cleaning, cooking, etc. - 8 - 10 hours a day, just like the workers.
    3. Give a one-time bonus payment, IF they get the hell out. Move to another city - locate in some other place where they can get back on their feet. No more than $5000. NOT to be repeated. NOT to be combined with other aid. Don't come back and don't let the door hit you.
    4. It should not need to be stated, but NO money for illegal aliens. If the adults in the family are not legal, they need to go. If they have American citizens as their children, they may take them with them, and - as an incentive to go away - each American-born kid gets them $2000 cash. Just don't come back. Take their fingerprints, eyeprints, blood for DNA testing - if they are caught again, jail time. They will NOT be eligible for immigration later, even as the parent of an American citizen.
    Once those people are gone, the problems are reduced. You can deal with those who have roots in the city, and have reasonable expectations of getting back on their feet, with a little help.



    Anonymous said…
    One tiny quibble - there are some clothing businesses that I would include in the "immediate." Specialize work clothing (and shoes!), and the discounters of everyday clothing. (Boutiques can wait a long time, IMHO...)
    Linda Fox said…
    Good point - that's why this is just some preliminary ideas.

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