The Road Home: Helping Homeowners in the Gulf After Katrina

Mercatus Policy Series, Policy Comment No. 19

28 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2009

See all articles by Eileen Norcross

Eileen Norcross

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Anthony Skriba

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: May 25, 2008

Abstract

Following the destruction wrought by the 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes, Louisiana and Mississippi instituted disaster recovery programs for homeowners. Louisiana's disaster recovery program, the Road Home program, is "the largest single housing recovery project in U.S. history." It is also mired in controversy with a record of slow payouts, confusing and conflicting policies and goals, and extremely frustrated applicants.

This comment explores Road Home's policy goals and design, placing them in the context of the destruction wrought by the hurricanes and the role of insurance and government before and after a disaster. It then contrasts Road Home's goals and design with the policy goals and design of Mississippi's Homeowner Assistance Program.

Mississippi's clearer eligibility criteria and the prioritization of applicants allowed for faster progress than in Louisiana. Louisiana's decision to distribute funds widely (both geographically and temporally) and without regard to the severity of damage has contributed to a slower recovery in neighborhoods that experienced the full force of flooding. Furthermore, Louisiana's decision to use Road Home as a community development program by assigning exit penalties to those who do not return to their former homes has limited the personal autonomy of those most affected by the storms and may lock them into highly detrimental situations.

Clearly defining culpability and determining eligibility is vital in structuring disaster assistance. Road Home's failure to do this could be catastrophic for the long-term recovery of both Louisiana and the evacuees.

Keywords: Road Home, Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana, housing

Suggested Citation

Norcross, Eileen and Skriba, Anthony, The Road Home: Helping Homeowners in the Gulf After Katrina (May 25, 2008). Mercatus Policy Series, Policy Comment No. 19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1350519 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1350519

Eileen Norcross (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-4930 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.mercatus.org/eileen-norcross

Anthony Skriba

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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