Federalism after Hurricane Katrina

Research Report

Federalism after Hurricane Katrina

How Can Social Programs Respond to a Major Disaster?


This paper explores the key features of four essential federal-state-local programs that have offered supports to low-income families and individuals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- housing, unemployment compensation, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. It argues that the complexity of their structures and limited scale have inhibited their ability to respond effectively and quickly to the needs created by Hurricane Katrina. It recommends that national policymakers develop a set of disaster relief mechanisms better suited to address the large-scale cross-jurisdictional migration, diminished state fiscal capacity, increased demand for assistance, and other challenges that major disasters present.

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