Dozens of families fled to Cedar Rapids after Hurricane Katrina hit in August, but some of them say they still can’t find jobs. The strong school system attracted John and Royce Feltenberger to bring their four children to Cedar Rapids. Royce has two degrees and plenty of experience as an administrative assistant. So far, she’s applied for at least fifty jobs and no one has responded.
Feltenberger says “It’s difficult to keep waking up every day and not hearing anything. You start to lose hope after a while.” She says employers are avoiding Katrina victims. Feltenberger says some people fled Louisiana, took everything they could get here in Iowa, then left in the middle of the night.
She says “We don’t have any intentions of leaving here because there’s nothing back in Louisiana for us.” Another Katrina evacuee, Jammie Tinker, says the same thing is happening to her. Tinker says “Nobody will hire us. As soon as they hear we’re Katrina victims, they’re not hiring.” Tinker’s fiancé, Edward Taylor, has 26 years of experience as a union steel worker and hasn’t been able to find work either.
Taylor says “We want to stay and make a life here. It’s hard because nobody wants to hire us or do anything. I went today and got an application for McDonalds.” Both families live in apartments provided by the Mid-America Housing Partnership. If you’d like to help the couples find work, visit “www.mahp.net”.