Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

September 19, 2005

Housing the Hurricane Evacuees

Filed under: — Different River @ 6:02 pm

See, economists can actually be useful!

Alex Tabarrok posts an article by Edgar O. Olsen suggesting that the rather than continue to house hurricane refugees in the Astrodome, church camps and the like, that they expand the Section 8 housing program. This is basically a program in which qualifying poor (which may or may not overlap with actually poor) live in normal rental housing instead of “the projects,” and the government pays all or a part of the rent.

Section 8 is much beloved by economists since it’s more of a market solution than housing projects and it doesn’t create crime-infested hellholes, but in practice it’s not perfect, since residents have less of an incentive to be nice to the owners and careful with the property, and owners have to meet onerous regulations to participate. Still, it’s got to be better than cots on a stadium floor — and this would be as good a time as any to relax some of those regulations.

This is, of course, based on the assumption that there is enough excess housing in other cities to house all the refugees, an assumption which is probably valid. It is also based on the assumption that this will be an extended evacuation, like when Mayor Nagin said he was going to keep the city closed for 3, 6, or 9 months. (I never believed that, and really regret not posting that prediction — I would have looked so smart! ;-) The mayor has of course changed his tune now.) Still, even though most of the city will probably be “opened” shortly, some percentage of the population will discover that their homes are damaged too much to be lived in, and there will not be enough previously-vacant, not-too-damaged housing in New Orleans to house all those people.

One Response to “Housing the Hurricane Evacuees”

  1. Rhoda Brown Says:

    please give me and my child(15)a hose or and apartment please im so ready to come home….

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