Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Simunovich on Post-Disaster Redevelopment

David Simunovich (Seton Hall School of Law) has posted The Quiet of Dissolution: Post-Disaster Redevelopment and Status Preservation Compensation on SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Gulf Coast residents, community groups, and policy makers have a uniquely powerful and dynamic charge — rebuild a great city. The chosen vehicle for housing redevelopment in Louisiana is the Road Home, a federally funded program designed to combine administrative flexibility while protecting the homeowner status of Katrina-displacees. The Road Home provides renovation grants of up to $150,000 for Katrina-displaced homeowners to rebuild storm damaged residences.

While the basic tenets of the Road Home are largely commendable, the program remains fundamentally flawed because it fails to protect Louisiana's most politically and economically vulnerable residents. In an effort to concentrate post-disaster redevelopment, the Road Home administrators will deny renovation grants to qualified residents living in neighborhoods where too few homeowners are returning to rebuild their community. This Comment argues that the restriction triggers federal displacement benefits under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act (URA). The URA's displacement benefits will be triggered by certain Road Home property acquisitions under a theory of functional displacement.

Ben Barros

[Comments are held for approval, so there will be some delay in posting]

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