Monty Loree is talking about the financial problems a million people will have as their credit is ruined as they default on bill payments.
I heard someone on television last night talking about those who depend on government checks that they receive on the first of the month. Because Katrina came at the end of a month, many people who live from check to check were completely out of money when it hit. They cannot get to the new money they stood to receive today.
UPDATE: A reader emails:
I wonder if American Express, for example, would be willing to let people donate their accumulated Amex Points (I'm sure there are similar programs with some other cards) to hotel chains which agree to provide housing at a discount or even free. I'm thinking of Amex because, one, there are a lot of better-off people who use these cards all the time and have great backlogs of points which can be used for all sorts of items AND HOTEL STAYS (we have bunches of points, for example, which we have been banking for a vacation since I made the decision to stay home with my child and thus stopped consulting full-time--and traveling, using Amex). Remember, Amex runs a travel service utilized by MANY corporate travelers--and corporations have subcontracted travel services for business to Amex. Perhaps Amex could help coordinate with the many hotel chains with which it works (and has discount arrangements, even before you get to the points issue).
I'm not trying to put the finger on Amex, by the way; I know there are other similar programs. It's just that I'm more familiar with how that one works, and that I know that particular company works with other major corps.
Many consultants, business employees, and other road warriors are ALSO likely to have free-stays banked at various hotel chains, as well. I wonder if these could be donated, and if so, how people could go about this.
Finally, it's good for people to remember that MANY companies, on an ongoing basis, have charitable-giving matching-fund programs. MANY people don't know this ... so they might want to check with their company's benefit manager, or whatever. My husband works for a major corporation which has this program in place, and we are mostly going to donate through that avenue, just because of the dollar-for-dollar match.