For Katrina Homeowners Still not Home, Better Late……

vacant house

Last week, a $62M settlement was reached for roughly 1,400 Louisiana homeowners still not back in their homes due to insufficient recovery resources. The settlement was the result of a suit brought by the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Alliance, the NAACP LDF, and the National Fair Housing Alliance, filed in 2008. The case was informed by the PolicyLink 2008 analysis conducted on all applicants to the Road Home program that found formulas that dictated the lesser of pre-storm value or damage estimates had a disproportionate impact on African American homeowners’ ability to recover. The analysis found that African American homeowners faced an average of approximately $70,000 gaps because their homes’ pre-storm values were far lower than the replacement costs of their homes.

This settlement marks the second readjustment of the formula for homeowners triggered by the suit and informed by the PolicyLink findings. The first was a rule change early in the Obama Administration by HUD that raised the eligible amount for ‘additional compensation grants’ for low- and moderate-income homeowners, resulting in more than $470 million to lower income families, the majority of whom were people of color in Orleans Parish. Together, these two measures will provide more than a half billion dollars in rebuilding assistance to struggling storm damaged homeowners.

The New York Times called for stronger oversight to make sure low-income and minority residents don’t have to wait so long for help. Follow the history of the case at the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center and learn about their other crucial work to defend fair housing outcomes for residents of Louisiana post-Katrina.

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