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Despite the popular perception that New Orleans is back ten years after Hurricane Katrina, the recovery hasn’t reached many residents, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D, La.) recently explained on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
“People assume that the city is back because the areas that they cover on TV, those are the areas that are back. If you look at Canal Street and Bourbon Street and all of those areas, the Superdome and the New Orleans area, they’re back.
“However, there’s still areas that are not back. You still have areas where there are homeowners that are struggling to rebuild. You can look at the Lower Ninth Ward. You can look at the Upper Ninth Ward. You can look at Gentilly. You can look at New Orleans East. Those areas are still fighting to recover.”
The federal government created the Road Home Homeowner Assistance Program to help those who had been affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita back in 2005. The program’s site says “over 130,000 residents across the Louisiana coastal region have received more than $8.9 billion to rebuild and protect their homes and rental properties from future storm damage.”
However, Richmond said the program failed thousands of home-owning New Orleanians in less affluent communities. “They complain that they were fingerprinted and treated like criminals during the application process in the onset of applying for government assistance.” Furthermore, regulations tied grant calculations to the pre-storm appraised value of a home, “as opposed to the actual cost of rebuilding,” which heavily penalized minority communities where property values are often lower.
Hear what else Richmond had to say about the post-Katrina recovery in the video above, and find previous CBC Messages To America on YouTube.
For more information about the Congressional Black Caucus, visit cbc-butterfield.house.gov.