There’s no guarantee the great flood of 2016 will attract a federal care package. It will be up to Congress to decide that.Article is about the need for a "Road Home" type program (yeah.. but one that works faster and better) to bring back South Louisiana after this year's floods. The key to recovery is pulling down federal money. How much? A lot.
But in New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s view, getting Congress on board with a program that bridges the huge gap between the losses suffered by property owners and the amount they’ll receive from their insurance claims is more than crucial. It's the “whole ballgame," the mayor said in a recent interview.
I wanted to do a little napkintop math in order to figure how much might be needed this time around. But the terminology in this article makes it difficult.It’s no stretch to say that the Road Home, warts and all, saved New Orleans after the disaster that struck 11 years ago this week. In the months after the storm, the scale of the damage, the realization that many devastated homeowners lacked flood insurance and the fact that many of the hardest-hit survivors were among the region’s poorest led to a surreal debate about whether New Orleans would ever recover, or whether parts of it should simply be abandoned.In the end, Congress and the George W. Bush administration doled out $13.4 billion to underwrite the Road Home program. Affected homeowners, about 130,000 of them, got an average of $70,000 apiece.
Some reports — such as one by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber — have estimated there could be as many as 145,000 flooded homes across the region, a number that would put this unnamed rainstorm within an order of magnitude of Katrina. (The federal government’s final estimates for Katrina damage in Louisiana were 515,000 housing units damaged, 204,682 of them severely or totally.)Road Home money went to 130,000 "affected homeowners" out of "515,000 housing units damaged." I don't know how to compare that to "145,000 flooded homes" especially when they throw in that "204,682 severely or totally" bit.
130,000 "affected homeowners" funded by Road Home out of 515,000 "damaged" is about 25%. But out of 204, 682 it's more like 63%. Are we asking to pay for 25% of "145,000 flooded homes" this year or 63% of them? Assuming the average grant amount will be the same $70,000 (it will probably have to be more) that means we're hoping for between $2.5 billion at the low estimate and $6.4 billion at the high end.
In any case, we need billions of dollars on top of what's already in the pipeline. And we're not going to raise it via thousands of little GoFundMes. It will be up to Congress. That's the whole ballgame.