Housing Loss and Recovery after Hurricane Katrina: The Effect of Housing Tenure

Elizabeth Fussell, Washington State University

Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the levees caused tremendous housing loss for New Orleans residents. Previous research suggests that renters, who are more likely to be socio-economically disadvantaged, have greater difficulty returning to their homes after a disaster. This research focuses on how pre-event housing tenure influences return to a pre-Katrina home among a sample of low-income parents who participated in a study of community college students in New Orleans. I find that pre-Katrina homeowners were 2.5 times as likely to return to their pre-Katrina home as were renters, even after controlling for housing damage, receipt of insurance and disaster assistance, socio-demographic and household composition, pre-event mental health, evacuation timing and trauma exposure. Residents of public housing and Section 8 recipients were significantly less likely than others to return to their pre-Katrina homes. Consistent with prior research, I find renters face greater obstacles to returning to their pre-disaster homes.

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Presented in Session 140: Impacts of Conflicts and Natural Disasters I