Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Improving the Social Safety Net Before the Next Disaster

From the Urban Institute:
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2006--The structural complexity and inadequate benefits of four essential government programs made it hard for them to respond quickly and effectively to the deep-seated needs of people harmed by Hurricane Katrina, says a new Urban Institute study.

Katrina's scale and severity tested the intergovernmental funding arrangements, eligibility guidelines, and benefit standards at the heart of housing assistance, unemployment compensation, health care, and cash support programs. The storm's aftermath raised unsettling questions about whether these programs could reach storm-wracked residents of the Gulf Coast swiftly and fairly, and about state and local governments' incentives to address
victims' needs.

"Federalism after Hurricane Katrina: How Can Social Programs Respond to a Major Disaster?" explores the programs' responses to Hurricane Katrina, describes pre-disaster operations, specifies what made Katrina so hard to handle, and recommends better ways to respond to disaster in the future.
This paper is available here, and is part of the Urban Institute's After Katrina research series (http://www.urban.org/afterkatrina).

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