Post Katrina Housing Assistance

Bruce Katz
Bruce Katz Founding Director of the Nowak Metro Finance Lab - Drexel University

October 5, 2005

Mr. Katz, along with Mark Misczak, Lead Individual Assistance Officer at FEMA, and Ronald Utt, Senior Research Fellow at Heritage Foundation, participated in The Diane Rehm Show to discuss the current housing assistance situation in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

BRUCE KATZ: The reason why we are at a point of really desperate, very costly measures, like hotels rooms, or even cruise ships, is because we did not deploy the right tools immediately after the hurricane? such as housing vouchers. I think Ron and I are both going to talk about this. When we had an earthquake in 1994 in Los Angeles, the so called Northridge earthquake, HUD was on the ground the same day as the earthquake. And within a few days, Congress had appropriated about 20,000 vouchers. With vouchers, people can basically move to private rental apartments, integrate quickly into communities that are close to good schools and quality jobs. I agree with Mark, the real issue here is about choice and opportunity. We do have a tool. We’ve only deployed it lately in this hurricane. And it will allow large numbers, tens of thousands of displayed renters, to basically to neighborhoods where they can put their kids in decent schools and hopefully get back into the workforce.

Listen to the full interview at The Diane Rehm Show website.