Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) toured the converted Wanamaker Junior High School Monday morning, visiting with evacuees and thanking volunteers at the shelter.
“What I’ve seen today, in my mind, is truly remarkable,” Jackson said. “I will say that during the past two weeks, Philadelphia has certainly lived up to its name, ‘The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly [Affection].'”
The shelter, which Mayor John Street said has processed more than 400 evacuees since it opened last week, has served as the home base for “Project Brotherly Love,” the city’s hurricane relief program. Secretary Jackson thanked Street for undertaking the massive project. He also thanked Santorum for his work on Capitol Hill on behalf of the victims.
“Whether you understand it or not, it’s important to have seniority on Capitol Hill,” Jackson said. “And without his seniority and commitment, the assistance that Louisiana is receiving, Mississippi is receiving, Alabama is receiving, and Florida is receiving at this time would not be possible.”
Santorum said the evacuees were happy, something they hadn’t been for some time.
“It’s very comforting to me to see smiles on the faces of people that you haven’t seen many smiles from,” Santorum said.
Seventy people are currently living in Wanamaker, 38 of which were evacuated to Philadelphia on a flight last week. The others who received assistance at the school needed vital care but had friends or family in the Philadelphia area.
“What I’ve seen inside these shelters gives great hope for America,” Jackson said. “Even when people have lost everything materialistic, they keep the hope and posterity that they’ll get it all back. But more than that, they resonate what is important in this country.”
Christopher Reber can be reached at email@example.com.