Affluent got most help in Katrina disaster

Aug. 27, 2010 at 9:11 AM
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NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Affluent whites benefited more than poor blacks from programs meant to help Gulf Coast residents recover from Hurricane Katrina, an official says.

Governments in Mississippi and Louisiana structured rebuilding programs in a way that provided the most help to the most affluent residents, The Washington Post reported Friday.

"The recovery is really the tale of two recoveries," said James Perry, executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. "For people who were well-off before the storm, they are more likely to be back in their homes, back in their jobs and to have access to good healthcare. For those who were poor or struggling to get by before the storm, the opposite is true."

A federal judge found this month Louisiana's program to distribute funds allocated following the 2005 hurricane discriminated against African-American homeowners.

In Mississippi, state officials refused to give rebuilding grants to property owners suffering wind damage, claiming they should have carried private insurance, which hit low-income and African-American homeowners especially hard, the report said.

About $143 billion in federal funding was appropriated to rebuild areas damaged by the hurricane. A recent poll indicated African-Americans are more than twice as likely as whites to say they haven't recovered from the hurricane, the newspaper said.

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