Thursday, September 01, 2005

Americans Open Their Hearts And Homes

Over lunch, my friend mentioned to me that I should check out the "Men Seeking Women" category on the New Orleans Craigslist, because some of it was pretty hilarious, if not completely pathetic. "Any cute new orleans hipster girls displaced by katrina?" asks one loser in Phoenix. "I Can Help Out Single Younger Woman" says a 51 year old in Atlanta. I didn't find these funny at all -- it's hard to put a smile on your face when article after article, I'm reading about the kinds of atrocities normally found in only the most unbelievable fiction novels.

But then something did catch me eye -- for whatever reason, I clicked on apartment listings in New Orleans, probably out of a morbid curiosity. Instead of lonely jokesters posting tasteless jokes, I found the complete opposite: People from all over the country opening up their doors to displaced survivors of Hurricane Katrina. "Free Room for Single Parent with 1 or 2 kids" in So. Cal., "Will share my home for Katrina Family" in New Jersey... the list is long and, while I wonder the practicality of this posting method, as the city is without electricity and I imagine internet access is a good couple of hundred miles away, the sentiment is clear: People care. One posting in particular really touched me:
Free. Seattle. I can probably get you here

I'm looking for a person displaced by the catastrophe who would either like a new start in a beautiful city or at least a few month break while things settle down. I have a room to offer and, depending on where you are, can probably get you here as well.

The house is a spare room in a house of 30 somethings - would be ideal for a college student but will take others. Please contact me with questions.

Nika Aldrich

You can read more of the listings here.

There's really not much to say -- other than that it is inspiring to see complete strangers be so welcoming and generous.

You can donate to the victims of Hurrican Katrina here:

Network For Good.

UPDATE: Thanks to friends/commenters who brought Hurricane Housing to my attention. Check it out.

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