The federal government is exploring how to put Florida hurricane evacuees in foreclosed homes if a Katrina-like storm devastates the region and shelters, hotels and other housing options are full, The Associated Press has learned.
Officials told AP on Tuesday that it is an effort to find some benefit in the foreclosure crisis and keep people close to their homes and communities instead of scattering them around the country, which happened when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other parts of coastal Louisiana and Mississippi almost four years ago. Thousands of victims who lost their homes in the storm moved to Houston, Atlanta and other cities, and many never returned.
New Orleans has been slow to recover, partly because of the lost population.
“When you have a diaspora that leaves the state it’s very hard to get those guys back. You really want to prevent them from leaving the state,” said Jeff Bryant, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s federal coordinating officer for Florida. “We want to keep them in their same local community.”