Mississippi Paper_5.0.qxd by dandanhuanghuang


									A Report of the Mississippi State Conference of the
National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People

Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—
One Year Later
Creating Innovative Public Policy to Rebuild and Transform Mississippi

Prepared and Edited by
The Initiative for Regional and Community Transformation
The Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy Rutgers University

Contact :
Derrick Johnson                           Dr. Roland V. Anglin
President                                 Executive Director
Mississippi State Conference              Initiative for Regional & Community Transformation
National Association for the              Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
Advancement of Colored People             Rutgers University
1072 West J. R. Lynch Street              33 Livingston Avenue
Jackson, MS 39203                         New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(601) 353-6906                            (732) 932 -3133 ext. 599
www.naacpms.org                           www.regionandcommunity.org

The Mississippi State Conference of the National           The editors of this study wish to recognize the people
Association for the Advancement of Colored People          of Mississippi for their courage and resiliency in
wishes to acknowledge the hardworking people of            the face of devastation. Thanks must be extended to
Mississippi, particularly our members who first            the authors of the papers in this report individually
informed us of the unmet community needs in the            and collectively. They took time from very busy
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We would also like         professional responsibilities to reflect and suggest
to recognize Mr. James Crowell, our State Treasurer        ways to improve the state of Mississippi. We also
and Biloxi Branch President, who despite the loss          thank the many public officials, corporate leaders,
of his own house, served as the catalyst for our           and nonprofit officials who gave of their time to
quick response to the unmet needs in East Biloxi.          answer questions, provide data, and generally share
We would also like to thank the many public                their deep knowledge of Mississippi. Meetings and
officials, corporate and nonprofit partners, and           discussions with many stakeholders revealed a
Mississippians who have so generously supported            consistent desire to rebuild their state in a different,
our efforts to give voice to the voiceless and recognize   economically strong, and more inclusive fashion.
those who are often ignored. We would also like to         We extend a special thanks to the Ford Foundation
thank each of the contributing writers who lent their      and the Edward J. Bloustein School at Rutgers
expertise and educated eye. Lastly, we would like to       University for their support of this study. Thanks also
thank the editors of this study, Dr. Roland V. Anglin      to Danielle Britton and Willa Speiser for their help
and Marcus J. Littles, who guided this idea to the         in preparing this document. The views, conclusions,
finished product.                                          and recommendations are those of the authors and
                                                           not necessarily those of the mentioned institutions.
                                                           Lastly, we offer many thanks to the hardworking staff
                                                           of the Mississippi State Conference of the National
                                                           Association for the Advancement of Colored People,
                                                           Irene Jones, Sherry Knight, Tammi Nichols,
                                                           Cassandra Welchlin, and particularly Derrick
                                                           Johnson, who continues to discover innovative ways
                                                           to make democracy work in Mississippi.

Table of Contents

4 .................................Executive Summary

6 .................................A Review of the Federal Response to Rebuilding Mississippi:
                                   One Year After Hurricane Katrina
                            By Amy Liu, Deputy Director, The Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program

14 ...............................Community and Economic Development in the Transformation of a Region
                            By Dr. Roland V. Anglin, Executive Director, and Marcus J. Littles, Project Director, Initiative for Regional and
                            Community Transformation, Rutgers University

17 ...............................Resolving the Insurance Crisis: A Precursor to Rebuilding
                            By David Miller, Equal Justice Fellow, Mississippi Center for Justice

22 ...............................Housing Policy for the Mississippi Coast
                            By Edward Sivak, Director of Policy and Evaluation, Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (ECD),
                            with contributions from: Jeffrey Lowe, Assistant Professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning,
                            Florida State University, and Dr. Roland V. Anglin, Executive Director, Initiative for Regional and Community
                            Transformation, Rutgers University

28 ...............................Striking a Balance: Economic Development Strategies to Rebuild
                                  the Gulf Coast Equitably
                            By Edward Sivak, Director of Policy and Evaluation, Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (ECD),
                            with contributions from: Rebecca Dixon, Policy Analyst, Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (ECD)

34 ...............................Preventing Predatory Lending During the Rebuilding Process
                            By Reilly Morse, Equal Justice Works Katrina Legal Fellow, Mississippi Center for Justice

39 ...............................The Role of the Faith Community in Relief, Recovery, Rebuilding,
                                  and Transformation
                            By Frederick Davie, President, Public/Private Ventures

45 ...............................Human Rights and Mississippi’s Displaced Residents
                            By Monique Harden, Co-Director,Advocates for Environmental Human Rights

51 ...............................The Potential Role for Philanthropy in Mississippi’s Long-Term Recovery
                            By Marcus J. Littles, Project Director, Initiative for Regional and Community Transformation, Rutgers

56 ...............................Author Bios

Executive Summary

When future generations reflect on Hurricane Katrina,        • The focus and attention by federal and state
as an event, much attention will be paid to the uneven         policy toward rebuilding has been slow,
capacity of government—at all levels—to manage the             disjointed, and often not reflective of key
unfolding disaster. As important as that reflection is,        voices in Mississippi.
true judgment and assessment of the period will focus
on how the rebuilding process was managed, and how           • Rebuilding policies, especially those policies
the opportunity was used to build a better Gulf region.        focused on compensating individual
                                                               homeowners, have the potential to shift
The opportunity to build a new future for Mississippi is       resources meant for the most vulnerable
fleeting. Devastation often brings flexibility in hardened     communities to communities that (while
views of what government can and should do, and the            severely affected by the storm) do not fit
lessening of social and economic cleavages.                    the profile and guidelines for serving low-
                                                               income communities as stated in HUD
That flexibility and openness does not last long, and          guidelines.
every opportunity must be taken to push forward the
type of policies that reduce physical, social, and           • The state and federal government
economic vulnerability. The Mississippi National               responses have not sufficiently addressed
Association for the Advancement of Colored People,             the volume of rental housing units lost
with the assistance of the Initiative for Regional and         and damaged by the storm and the need
Community Transformation at Rutgers University,                to replace them.
undertook this project to document key challenges and
opportunities facing the state of Mississippi in the next    • The state of Mississippi is facing a
eighteen months.                                               tremendous insurance crisis that must be
                                                               addressed in order for large-scale long-term
We did not seek to cover all challenges and fronts;            rebuilding to take place.
rather, we asked creative thinkers and practitioners to
suggest broad-gauge policies needed to promote               • While planning for rebuilding is in place,
sustainable change and development.                            the actual capacity for physical development
                                                               is limited due to the high demand for
The key findings flowing from this report are as               skilled labor, building materials, and
follows:                                                       project financing.

• Predatory lending practices that plagued
  vulnerable Mississippi communities before
  the hurricane are still in force and now
  retain the potential to drain away
  resources from newly compensated low- to
  moderate-income households.

• The faith communities who were the first
  responders and most effective in delivering
  services are still called to perform similar
  duties without much assistance,
  compensation, and training.

• Limited effort and resources are being
  invested in developing policies for those
  displaced to other regions by the storms.

• Given the limited capital base in the private,
  public, and regional philanthropic sectors, civil
  society in Mississippi must develop and
  nurture a philanthropic base that will help
  sustain rebuilding, development, and

A Review of the Federal Response to Rebuilding
Mississippi: One Year After Hurricane Katrina
Amy Liu, Deputy Director
The Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program

Background and Context                                        damage, it is hard to imagine state and local
                                                              governments, stripped of staff and resources, stepping
It has been one year since Hurricane Katrina struck           in and beginning recovery without outside assistance.
Mississippi’s coastline, literally leveling many of her       Nor can the marketplace begin investing private
communities. According to the latest FEMA estimates,          dollars without strong confidence that the public
approximately 61,400 homes and rental units sustained         sector is committed to rebuilding these communities
severe or major damage from the storms.1 More than            ensuring that their investments will be protected.
3,300 businesses were damaged in the state.2 After
accounting for all households and structures, Hurricane       The purpose of this paper is to briefly review the
Katrina has been crowned the deadliest and costliest          federal role in the post-Katrina recovery effort as it
storm this country has ever seen, causing more than           relates to the housing and economic development
1,800 deaths to date and approximately $81.2 billion in       needs in Mississippi. It will pay special attention to
total damage.3                                                the extent to which the federal response has
                                                              adequately met the needs of low-income and working
Since the storm, an outpouring of support and                 families and the communities in which they live. In
assistance has flowed to impacted communities in              truth, it is difficult to discuss the federal role without
Mississippi, especially the coastal counties of Hancock,      also recognizing the important role a governor plays
Harrison, and Jackson. Major philanthropies, national         in shaping federal priorities. Hence, this paper will
nonprofit and faith-based organizations, businesses, and      also highlight the federal-state partnership in key
experts of all kinds have, individually and in partnership,   areas of the recovery effort.
come to help guide and assist the economic recovery in
Biloxi, Waveland, or Gulfport. Public donations and           While significant federal dollars have been invested in
private funds have also helped leverage the investments       the Gulf region one year after Katrina, it is clear there
made by the federal government.                               remain significant gaps in the federal response to
                                                              recovery. To date, low-income and working families,
Ultimately, however, the early and strong role of the         particularly in Mississippi, are being locked out from
federal government is critical in disasters of this           the majority of the benefits of the recovery effort.
magnitude. Given the sheer size and severity of the

                                                               A Review of the Federal Response to Rebuilding Mississippi: One Year After Hurricane Katrina

 The Basics of the Overall Federal Response to                                   • The $107 billion provides aid to all five
 Post-Hurricane Recovery                                                           states along the Gulf Coast—from Texas to
                                                                                   Florida—and supports emergency and
 To date, the White House and Congress have approved                               recovery relief for damage wrought by
 $107 billion in funding for the Gulf Coast through five                           hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
 emergency supplemental packages and multiple actions
 to replenish the National Flood Insurance Program to                            • Of the $107 billion, the vast majority is for
 support the hundreds of thousands of claims from                                  emergency relief. More than one-quarter of
 homeowners in the Gulf.4                                                          the funds have been allocated to FEMA, the
                                                                                   Department of Homeland Security, and the
 There is a popular perception that much of this                                   Defense Department (including the National
 money has been spent or that all of it goes directly to                           Guard, Coast Guard, and the Army Corps of
 states and local communities. Neither is true, but,                               Engineers) for debris removal, emergency
 unfortunately, it is incredibly difficult to track the                            evacuations and rescue, and other emergency
 specifics of how federal funding has been distributed                             aid. Furthermore, of the 47 percent of funds
 or how much has been spent down. What is known,                                   set aside for housing—or $51 billion—
 however, is as follows:                                                           approximately two-thirds of those dollars are
                                                                                   dedicated to temporary housing, including
                                                                                   the building of trailers and short-term rental
 Distribution of Total Federal
                                                                                   assistance to families (Figure 1).
 Allocations, July 2006
    Health, social services,          Education, 1.8%                            • One can estimate that at least $35 billion of
    and job training, 3.3%
                                                                                   the $107 billion supports longer-term
                                            Agriculture 1.1%
   Non-housing cash                                                                rebuilding. This includes the $18.2 billion in
   assistance, 3.0%                                                                state and local infrastructure repairs and the
                                                                                   $16.7 billion in Community Development
State and
local response,
                                                                                   Block Grant funds (CDBG) funds to provide
infrastructure                                                                     aid to homeowners and apartment owners for
16.9%                                                      Temporary               the repair or recovery of housing.
                                                           and long term
                                                          47.2%                  • The full $107 billion does not go directly to
                                                                                   the states or to the local communities.
   Emergency                                                                       Primarily, just the supplemental CDBG
   response and
   DOD spending,                                                                   dollars are allocated directly to the impacted
                                                                                   states, and here, Mississippi received nearly
 Figure 1. Distribution of Total Federal Allocations Related to                    $5.1 billion. Otherwise, the vast majority of
           Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, July 2006
           Source: The Brookings Institution’s “Federal Allocations in             the $107 billion goes back to the federal
           Response to Katrina, Rita, and Wilma: An Update”                        agencies for spending and redistribution.

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

The bottom line is that a relatively small portion of                                housing (including public housing), to be distributed
the total federal spending to date on hurricane relief                               among states along the Gulf Coast.
has supported the short- and long-term recovery of
Gulf Coast communities. Further, very few dollars                                    Congress and the White House also tripled the
go directly to Mississippi for spending without first                                availability of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits
being rerouted through federal agencies. Thus, not                                   (LIHTCs) in the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of
only is the business of longer-term rebuilding just                                  2005 (GO Zone) to give the private sector resources
beginning, but the federal government’s role is not                                  to build affordable housing across the Gulf region.
complete. The federal government remains the                                         The additional tax credits will enable Mississippi to
primary administrator of the federal investment thus                                 encourage private developers, and nonprofit partners,
far; determining the criteria for spending in such                                   to build affordable housing, but those tax credits have
areas as infrastructure, education, small business                                   to be placed in service by the end of 2008.
assistance, and housing. In short, it is impossible to
escape the importance of a continued federal                                         The Limitations of the Federal (and State)
partnership with state and local leaders in Mississippi                              Response
to support the rebuilding of local communities.
                                                                                     While Hurricane Katrina impacted homeowners and
Federal Response to Housing, Including                                               renters alike and households of all income levels, the
Affordable Housing                                                                   federal and state housing response has not been so
                                                                                     even. Specifically, the housing recovery program has
Hurricane Katrina was, in many respects, a large-                                    been tilted heavily to homeowners, while the
scale housing disaster, destroying hundreds of                                       attention to rental housing and housing affordable to
thousands of homes across the Gulf Coast and                                         low-income and working families has been thin.
displacing more than 1 million people in the process.                                Furthermore, Katrina has provided an opportunity to
Without housing, there are few options for former                                    replace predominantly low-income neighborhoods
residents and workers who wish to return and take                                    with healthier, mixed-income communities, and the
part in the recovery process.                                                        commitment to promoting mixed-income
                                                                                     neighborhoods has been nearly nonexistent.
The Federal Investment to Date in Housing
Recovery                                                                             The Need for Rental Housing
                                                                                     The need for rental housing is clear. As mentioned
The federal government has approved a total of $16.7                                 earlier, nearly 61,400 homes in Mississippi sustained
billion dollars in CDBG funds to help homeowners                                     major or severe damage. Of those, 34 percent were
and apartment owners across the Gulf states. Of that,                                rental units. The share of homes completely destroyed
approximately $5.1 billion has been allocated to the                                 or severely damaged that were apartments was even
state of Mississippi. Another $1 billion in recently                                 higher, at 38 percent.5 Another 2,500 public housing
appropriated CDBG funds has been set aside for the                                   units were also damaged.6
repair, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of affordable

                                                A Review of the Federal Response to Rebuilding Mississippi: One Year After Hurricane Katrina

While the overall home-ownership rates in Hancock             volume of new apartment units generated by that
and Jackson counties were high before the storm, at           program will not be able to make up for the more
81.2 percent and 80.4 percent respectively, compared          than 20,000 rental units damaged by the storm.
to the U.S. average of 72.4 percent, the home-
ownership rates for African Americans and those               The Need for Affordable and Mixed-Income
who live in the cities were lower. In other words,            Housing
those who rented in 2000 were often households of             It is not enough to focus only on the supply of rental
color or those who lived in urban communities. For            housing; there also must be a focus on low income
instance, in 2000, 70 percent of renter households in         and working families’ need for affordable housing.
Biloxi were African American. So were 51 percent              The literature shows that affordable housing works
and 75 percent of renters in Gulfport and Pascagoula          best when such housing is not concentrated solely in
respectively.7                                                low-income neighborhoods, contributing to the
                                                              creation of high-density poverty.
However, Governor Haley Barbour has committed—
and is implementing—$3.4 billion in his federal               In 2000, the state of Mississippi was tied with
CDBG funds to help homeowners who did not have                Louisiana for having the highest share of people
federal or private flood insurance because they lived         living in neighborhoods where at least 20 percent of
outside of the FEMA-designated flood zone.8 This              residents were poor. Nearly 42 percent of
program has been criticized for literally being a             Mississippians lived in these “poverty areas.”11
compensation program rather than providing                    Further, while these two states also shared the top
incentives for homeowners to stay and rebuild their           spot among the fifty states in their share of poor
homes.                                                        residents, a disproportionate share of low-income
                                                              residents were people of color. For instance,
In contrast, the governor has set aside only $100             approximately 28 percent of African Americans in
million in the first round of CDBG funds to rebuild           Hancock County were poor in 2000, compared to
public housing in the impacted counties.9 The state           just 13 percent of whites. In Pascagoula, 42 percent
also has no public plans to provide assistance to             of blacks were low-income, while just 10 percent of
owners of damaged rental housing in the impacted              whites lived below the poverty line.
                                                              The academic literature confirms that living in high-
Meanwhile, the federal government has offered few             poverty neighborhoods can be hard on families and
targeted resources to restore the supply of public and        on taxpayers. Families living in these neighborhoods
assisted housing in Mississippi. Instead, Congress            are often cut off from jobs, market investment, and
and the White House have merely made public                   grocery stores. Residents are often exposed to high
housing an eligible activity under the second                 levels of crime, and they experience high levels of
allocation of $1 billion in CDBG monies to the Gulf           stress and anxiety. Children of low-income families
States. To be fair, the federal government did make           are often clustered in poorly performing schools. And
Low-Income Housing Tax Credits available, but the             the city and taxpayers bear the burden of the costs of

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

such neighborhoods, often paying for related police                                  First, the federal government waived the income
and other services from a weakened tax base.12                                       requirements of the supplemental CDBG program
                                                                                     without additional targeted aid to serve the housing
With post-Katrina recovery now on its way, the                                       needs of low-income households. Specifically, the
opportunity is ripe for federal and state leaders to                                 CDBG money normally requires 70 percent of aid
build healthy, mixed-income communities that                                         to flow toward projects that benefit low-and
improve opportunities for residents, in turn                                         moderate-income families. The December 2005
benefiting local communities as a whole.                                             emergency supplemental package reduced this
                                                                                     requirement to 50 percent, but even that could be
Successful examples of mixed-income communities                                      waived if the case was made for a compelling need.
exist around the country, and they demonstrate that                                  While such flexibility is often made in the case of
they can create a permanent supply of affordable                                     federally declared emergencies, the federal response
housing for low-income families while also improving                                 to this large-scale housing disaster was not
the well-being of all residents in the community. In a                               accompanied by other adequate sources of housing
review of successful mixed-income, mixed-finance                                     aid to help low-income households.
developments in Atlanta, St. Louis, Louisville, and
Pittsburgh, Valerie Piper and Mindy Turbov found                                     Second, the White House (with Senate and House
that median household incomes grew, workforce                                        conferees) rejected a Senate-passed version of the
participation rates increased, crime rates dropped, and                              latest federal emergency supplemental package that
school test scores improved in these new                                             included $100 million in project-based Section 8
neighborhoods. Renters and homeowners often lived                                    rental assistance to be tied to housing produced by
side by side. For many lower-income homeowners,                                      the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program. Such
home values increased, creating a true asset-building                                funds would have financed and preserved 13,500
opportunity.13 These mixed-income developments                                       units of affordable rental housing in the Gulf Coast,
were also successful in their implementation. Leaders                                ensuring that tax credit developments are truly
meaningfully engaged residents and other                                             mixed-income. And unlike CDBG, Section 8
stakeholders in the planning process. They designed                                  project-based vouchers are specifically targeted to
the new housing to be attractive to former and new                                   serve low-income individuals, ensuring that the
households and to be integrated with surrounding                                     neediest families benefit from the new rental housing
neighborhoods. Leaders also partner with private                                     being restored in the Gulf region. This provision was
investors so they can help own or manage the                                         dropped in the final negotiations in conference but
developments well.                                                                   should be revisited in the federal appropriations cycle
                                                                                     this fall.
But the federal government, with its state partner, has
done little to promote the twin goals of preserving                                  Third, the state has made no provisions to support
affordable housing and creating healthy, mixed-                                      the development of mixed-income housing, either
income communities.                                                                  through its CDBG program or its proposed use of
                                                                                     the GO Zones housing tax credits. For instance, the

                                                 A Review of the Federal Response to Rebuilding Mississippi: One Year After Hurricane Katrina

state has not set aside a portion of CDBG dollars to           has designated other resources that help jump-start
be tied to tax credit housing to either ensure that a          Mississippi’s impacted economies. These include
portion is reserved for low-income families or to              funds through FEMA for the repair of state and local
create gap financing to developers so that mixed-              public infrastructure and loans from the Small
income developments are financially viable, given the          Business Administration. This following section will
increased costs of construction. Further, the state            focus primarily on the large-scale federal tax program
housing finance agency, the Mississippi Home                   called the Gulf Opportunity Zone.
Corporation, has not created enough incentives in its
draft “qualified allocation plan” (QAP) for the 2007           The Federal Tax Credit Program: GO Zones
and 2008 allocations to encourage developers to
embrace mixed-income housing. For instance, a                  In December 2005, the president signed into law the
QAP with meaningful provisions for mixed-income                Gulf Opportunity Zone Act (GO Zone), which
developments could be explicit in: (1) placing a               provides approximately $8 billion in tax relief for
strong preference for developers, who have a proven            businesses heavily impacted by the storm and tax
track record of creating mixed-income, mixed-finance           incentives to induce new investments in the storm-
developments, (2) ensuring that a full range of                ravaged parishes along the coast.
household incomes are provided in the development,
from the lowest-income to market-rate families, and            These tax benefits include the ability for existing
(3) ensuring that such mixed-income rental housing             businesses to expense up to 50 percent of costs for
can also be built in low-poverty neighborhoods.14              clean up and demolition or claim a tax credit for
                                                               retained workforce. The zone includes incentives
Overall, much more can be done at the federal and              for new businesses such as 50 percent bonus
state level to promote the provision of affordable,            depreciation for new development or tax-exempt
rental housing in healthier, mixed-income                      bond financing for setting up a new shopping or
neighborhoods.                                                 retail center or office building. To promote the
                                                               redevelopment of distressed areas, the Go Zone
Federal Investment in Promoting Economic                       legislation increased not only the federal allocation
Redevelopment                                                  of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit but also
                                                               the New Markets Tax Credit in the region.
Housing is central to the economic recovery of the
Gulf Coast economy. Without adequate housing to                Potential Limitations to the Tax Benefits of the
enable the return of workers, consumers, and families,         GO Zone
there would be little growth in tax revenues. Tax
receipts are essential to financing basic local services       Forty-seven counties in southern Mississippi have
and government operations while also providing state           been designated as part of the GO Zone.15 Many
and local resources to be used in recovery efforts.            businesses across the zone have hailed the benefits of
                                                               this economic program. Unfortunately, the bulk of
But in addition to housing, the federal government             the benefits have gone to businesses that did not

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

incur major damage or were sizable enough to absorb                                  workforce training dollars. Unfortunately, the federal
the initial losses. Meanwhile, many small businesses                                 government has slowly cut all grant dollars that
and family operations are not “bankable,” and have                                   formerly accompanied tax-based programs to
limited resources to borrow funds or have little to no                               maximize their use. Without resources for good
revenue to enjoy a tax credit.                                                       planning or local intermediaries, federal tax incentives
                                                                                     are merely invisible resources that may remain under-
Overall, the availability of the housing and new                                     or unused and not beneficial to many local businesses
markets tax credits afforded by the GO Zone may                                      and residents.
prove potentially valuable to community groups and
low- and moderate-income neighborhoods in the                                        Conclusion
state. The concern, however, is that many existing
business owners and low-income or urban workers                                      It is important to remind ourselves that Hurricane
may not benefit from these kinds of tax-only                                         Katrina wiped out generations of development,
revitalization efforts.                                                              economic growth, and community ties in a matter
                                                                                     of days. To re-create whole communities will take
A paper by Robert Stoker and Michael Rich                                            not one year, but many years.
reviewed twenty years’ worth of research and
practical experience from federal and state tax-                                     Thus, although the nation stands at the beginning
based incentive programs to revitalize distressed                                    of a long road to recovery, the initial federal and
communities to determine what lessons can be                                         state response to post-hurricane recovery has
applied to the similarly designed GO Zone.16 Their                                   neglected whole segments of households and
findings are sobering. For instance, they find that                                  communities. Both federal and state government
tax benefits often benefit new rather than existing                                  lack a strong commitment to affordable rental
businesses because of the focus on rewarding new                                     housing. Meanwhile, there are few efforts to ensure
capital and start-up costs. The tax incentives do not                                that low-income and working families have access
always generate the creation of new jobs or                                          to healthy, mixed-income neighborhoods that link
businesses and this often occurs because few                                         them to better opportunities. Finally, blanket tax
businesses use the tax incentives. But most                                          incentives to promote economic redevelopment will
importantly, tax incentives by themselves often do                                   not benefit the businesses, workers, and
not result in renewed economic development,                                          communities that need it most.
particularly ones that benefit residents of distressed
neighborhoods. Instead, the most effective tax-                                      In short, much more work is needed in the coming
based revitalization zones, such as the successful                                   years to ensure that low-income and working
federal empowerment zones, are ones that are                                         families, and urban neighborhoods, benefit from
coupled with funds that support local capacity                                       the long-term recovery of Mississippi.
building, comprehensive planning, and resources to
link zone residents and businesses to the available tax
credits and other economic development and

                                                        A Review of the Federal Response to Rebuilding Mississippi: One Year After Hurricane Katrina


1. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “Current Housing Unit Damage Estimates: Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma”
   (February 2006).
2. See Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Labor Market Statistics Prior to Disaster for Areas Affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita,”
3. For damage cost estimates, see National Weather Service, Hurricane Katrina Service Assessment Report (Silver Spring, MD, 2006).
4. For a more complete breakdown of the $107 billion and the series of federal actions in support of hurricane assistance, see Matt
   Fellowes and Amy Liu, “Federal Allocations in Response to Katrina, Rita, and Wilma: An Update” (Washington, DC: Brookings
   Institution, 2006).
5. U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
6. These figures do not include other HUD-assisted housing units, such as Section 8 project-based developments or housing for the
   elderly and disabled. See Mississippi Development Authority Public Housing Program, CDBG Disaster Recovery Action Plan,
   Amendment 1, http://www.mshomehelp.gov/p3_program.pdf.
7. All data are from U.S. Bureau of Census
8. Approximately $3 billion of the CDBG monies contain the Homeowner Grant Assistance Program. The other funds cover other
   housing-related and program administrative needs. See HUD press release announcing Mississippi housing aid at
9. Plans for the remaining $1.5 billion are forthcoming and will address infrastructure, economic development, and community
   development needs. See MDA, CDBG Action Plan, Amendment 1.
10. Note that tax credits from the federal Gulf Opportunity Zone legislation and loans from the Small Business Administration are
    available to owners of multifamily housing, but none of these programs provide direct grant assistance for owners who may not
    have the capacity to carry on more debt.
11. See “Areas of Concentrated Poverty, 1999: Census 2000 Special Reports” (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Commerce, 2005),
12. Alan Berube and Bruce Katz, “Katrina’s Window: Confronting Concentrated Poverty across America” (Washington, DC:
    Brookings Institution, 2005).
13. Valerie Piper and Mindy Turbov, “HOPE VI and Mixed-Finance Redevelopments: A Catalyst for Neighborhood Renewal”
    (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2005).
14. See the Corporations draft Qualified Allocation Plan for 2007/2008,
15. Bradley Arant Rose & White, LLP, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Newsletter (Winter 2006).
16. Robert P. Stoker and Michael J. Rich, “Lessons and Limits: Tax Incentives and Rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Katrina”
    (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2006).

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

Community and Economic Development
In The Transformation of a Region
By Roland V. Anglin, Executive Director
and Marcus J. Littles, Project Director
Initiative on Regional and Community Transformation, Rutgers University
Background and Context                                                               Community and Economic Development

Katrina and later Rita wreaked havoc on a Mississippi                                Community and economic development, in their
Gulf region unprepared for quick recovery. The                                       broad forms, occupy a central place in transforming
hurricanes were also a painful reminder to America that                              the Mississippi Gulf region’s post-hurricane
the corrosive link between race, class, and poverty is still                         devastation. Poverty, coupled with racial and ethnic
playing a dominant role in shaping the built                                         exclusion, nurtured segregated communities that were
environment and access to opportunity. Such links,                                   vulnerable economically and, as we witnessed,
along with failure to manage costal wetlands and build a                             vulnerable to natural disaster. Table 11 shows that the
strong local emergency management system led to the                                  three affected states were among the poorest in the
largest disaster in American history. While the                                      nation. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
destructive force of Katrina would be challenging                                    points out that “of the 5.8 million individuals in these
anywhere, the philanthropic sector and civil society in                              states who lived in the areas struck hardest by the
many of the devastated states before the hurricanes                                  hurricane, more than one million lived in poverty
could, at best, be described as evolving.                                            prior to the hurricane’s onset.”

This underdevelopment contributes not only to                                                               TABLE 1
inequalities in wealth and power but also to the                                      Poverty Especially High, and Incomes Especially Low,
                                                                                                in States Hit Hardest by Katrina
chronic underinvestment in public infrastructure and                                                 Poverty        Rank            Median            Rank
degradation of the environment that has left                                                         Rate                           Household
communities vulnerable to natural disasters. The result                              Alabama         16.1%          8th worst       $36,709           9th lowest
is a region now struggling to define the parameters of                               Louisiana       19.4%          2nd worst       $35,110           5th lowest
redevelopment. As public, private, and philanthropic                                 Mississippi     21.6%          Worst           $31,642           2nd lowest
resources flow to the region, the central question is                                U.S.            3%*                            $44,684
whether those resources will be used to rebuild                                      Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS) for 2004.

destroyed communities in ways that are equitable or if                               Note: According to the ACS, which the government uses for ranking states by
                                                                                     poverty, the national poverty rate was 13.1 percent in 2004. According to the
they will be used in ways that re-create the uneven                                  Current Population Survey, which is another government survey, the rate was
                                                                                     12.7 percent.
development revealed so starkly to the world.                                        Reference: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities

                                                                                   Community and Economic Development in the Transformation of a Region

    Damaged Homes and Businesses                                               years, have contributed to the spirit of self-help that is
                                                                               strong in the region. The difficulty in assembling
    The devastation brought by the hurricanes destroyed                        public, philanthropic and private capital to sustain
    many communities in Mississippi, Louisiana, and                            community development efforts, the lack of skilled
    Alabama that were already thin in terms of economic                        community leadership, and working in the larger
    and social infrastructure. Figure 1 indicates that while                   context of an economically underdeveloped region all
    Louisiana experienced more destroyed housing,                              conspire to limit social and economic progress.
    Mississippi had far more damaged housing. This is a
    significant distinction in the crux of the housing                         These challenges still face community-based
    crisis in Mississippi compared to the housing                              development, but this is a unique situation that offers
    challenges Louisiana faces.                                                the opportunity to build the resiliency of the nonprofit
                                                                               community-based development sector. Building the
     Louisiana Had 3x As Many Homes Destroyed By Katrina
                  And Rita As Any Other State                                  sector, even in the face of limited external resources, is
                                                                               crucial to community self-determination and long-
    Housing Units Destroyed And Damaged by Katrina and RIta
                                                                               term regional sustainability. As such, we make the
                                                         • Louisiana had
            255,954                                        far more homes      following recommendations to stakeholders in the
                      241,714                              destroyed by
Damaged                                                                        public, private and philanthropic sectors.
            38,709                                         Katrina than
                                                           –3.0x Mississippi
                      172,985                              –565x Alabama       Recommendations:
Destroyed   217,245                                      • Over 85% of
                                                           Lousisana’s            • Support a major ten-year community-based
                                                           properties are
                                                           estimated to             housing development and capacity building
                                           1,701   363     be destroyed
                                                                                    program in the Mississippi Gulf Coast
                                 7,583     1,338
                                                                                    region over a ten-year period. The best
              LA        MS        TX         AL
                                                                                    talent in the region and nation should be
    Figure 1. Excerpted from the Louisiana Recovery Authority                       assembled to work with private developers
              Presentation, March 9. 2006
              Source: Katriana numbers from American Red Cross (as                  to ensure livable, high-quality communities
              of 9/15/05); Rita numbers based upon FEMA inspections                 for the continuum of socioeconomic groups
              (Louisiana) and Texas Department of Pubilc Safety
                                                                                    in the region, providing gradual movement
                                                                                    from rental to lease-for-purchase to home
    Conclusion: Building Capacity for Community and                                 ownership.
    Economic Development
                                                                                  • Build the capacity of existing and nascent
    Community economic development is not new to the                                community development groups to become
    South and certainly not new to the Mississippi Gulf                             effective community developers through
    region. The presence and activity of credit unions, land                        intensive skills training and building the
    trusts, small-business strategies, and community                                capacity of supporting organizations.
    development corporations, especially over the last forty

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

    • Support faith-based institutions and                                             strategy must involve an incubator
      volunteer organizations, such as                                                 component and the building or
      neighborhood associations to help in the                                         augmenting of local and regional
      rebuilding process.                                                              community development financial
                                                                                       institutions (CDFIs).
    • Build the knowledge base and capacity of
      community-based development groups                                             • Support economic development entities
      to pursue mixed-income development                                               to provide grants and forgivable loans to
      strategies for regional transformation.                                          small and micro businesses.

    • Pursue public/private strategies and                                           • Support economic development entities
      partnerships to develop employer-                                                to pursue sector-specific investments (for
      assisted housing in the region.                                                  example, crafts, home-based industries,
                                                                                       cultural tourism).
    • Build the knowledge base and capacity of
      community-based development groups                                             • Support peer-learning and training
      to develop modular housing in distressed                                         opportunities for local and regional
      communities. Given the enormous task                                             economic development managers.
      of rebuilding communities, relying just on
      community-based organizations to do the                                        • Support efforts by disadvantaged women
      work would lead to frustration—                                                  and minorities to develop small
      especially in the short term. Community                                          businesses through access to capital,
      and economic development strategies                                              incubators, and peer-learning programs.
      must be pursued by a wide-range of
      relevant entities, including government,                                       • Support the development of a regional
      the private sector, and nonprofit                                                entrepreneurial leadership program for
      intermediaries.                                                                  small- to medium-sized enterprises. The
                                                                                       goal is to create opportunities for
    • Develop the small-business sector. The                                           exposure to innovative business practices
      Mississippi Gulf region is not blessed                                           for a diverse set of emerging
      with a significant number of large                                               entrepreneurs.
      corporations. Like other economic
      sectors, small businesses are in disarray.
      Ultimately, the economic health and
      development of the region will come
      from a vibrant small-business sector that
      is innovative and more connected to the
      global knowledge economy. Part of the

Resolving the Insurance Crisis:
A Precursor to Rebuilding
By David Miller, Equal Justice Fellow, Mississippi Center for Justice

Background and Context                                  had itself skyrocketed some 29.4% between 2001
                                                        and 2003.1 Coupled with the average
Consumer access to affordable property insurance is a   Mississippian’s low income, these rates lead to a
critical element of both survival and recovery on the   dangerously high percentage of uninsured and
Mississippi Gulf Coast. After Katrina, tens of          underinsured properties in the state.2 As a result,
thousands of Mississippi homeowners and renters         some 35,000 homes damaged by Katrina were
face the uncompensated loss of lifelong investments     underinsured.3 Even federally subsidized premiums
in their homes and accumulated personal property.       were of little help, as only 30% of homes flooded in
Many Mississippians living paycheck to paycheck         the coastal counties were protected through the
simply cannot recover from such losses in the absence   National Flood Insurance Program.4 Federal flood
of insurance proceeds or their equivalent. Even those   maps were also to blame, as some 29,000 homes
fortunate Mississippians who might somehow              outside of the special hazard zone sustained
manage a “fresh start” under such circumstances are     uninsured flood damage during the storm.5
equally hamstrung by the lack of affordable insurance
after Katrina. Simply put, rebuilding takes capital,    Even those Mississippians who could afford
and capital is unavailable in the absence of properly   insurance fared poorly after the storm. Insurers
insured collateral. Property insurance, in both its     quickly made clear their intention to attribute most
pre- and post-Katrina forms, is a largely unresolved    Katrina damage to uninsured flooding rather than
issue blocking recovery and renewal on the Coast a      insured windstorm.6 Consumers waited weeks for a
full year after the storm.                              visit from an adjuster,7 and months for a check (or, in
                                                        many cases, a letter rejecting their claims).8 Too
Insurance Landscape in Mississippi                      often, they faced the grim choice of accepting
                                                        compensation for a fraction of the damage sustained
Even before Hurricane Katrina struck, access to         or nothing at all.9 As of June 2006, insurers had paid
affordable property insurance was a serious problem     over $7 billion on 250,000 claims in the coastal
for many Mississippians. In 2003, only five states      counties, including $2.4 billion in NFIP claims,10
had a higher average homeowner’s premium, which         figures viewed best in the light of the 65,000 homes

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

destroyed and $125 billion in total storm damage.11                                  increase noted above.21 In addition to approving that
Mississippi consumers have already filed numerous                                    rate increase, Insurance Commissioner George Dale
lawsuits against their insurers in both state and                                    has issued a variety of proclamations extending
federal courts,12 and many more will undoubtedly                                     deadlines22 and requiring insurers to fully investigate
follow during the three-year window for pursuing                                     all claims.23 Dale also instituted a mediation program
such claims.13                                                                       funded by the insurance industry, which had settled
                                                                                     1,112 of 2,677 Katrina-related claims filed as of July
To guard against future exposure, insurers took a                                    14, 2006.24 Despite meeting in special session shortly
variety of steps from excluding wind coverage on                                     after Katrina and in regular session in the winter and
new policies and renewals to refusing to write                                       spring of 2006, the state legislature has done little to
policies in the six coastal counties altogether.14                                   alleviate the Katrina-related insurance problems faced
Many of those same companies nevertheless asked                                      by Mississippi consumers. Lawmakers are currently
for and received rate increases of up to 30%                                         meeting out of session to study the effects of the
statewide.15 Faced with thousands of castoffs from                                   increase in wind pool premiums, but little can be
traditional insurers, the Mississippi Windstorm                                      done until a special session is called or the legislature
Underwriters Association requested an increase in                                    reconvenes in January 2007.25
private homeowner premiums of just under 400% to
buy the insurance demanded by private companies                                      Conclusion
who had to share the wind pool’s staggering losses.16
The state’s insurance commissioner granted “only” a                                  In sum, property insurance issues are presenting
90% increase,17 an amount that will still preclude                                   major obstacles to Mississippi’s recovery and
thousands of homeowners from rebuilding.18                                           rebuilding efforts after Katrina. While affirmative
                                                                                     steps are underway to enforce policies in effect when
Mississippi’s public officials have attempted to resolve                             Katrina made landfall, they have primarily taken the
some of the foregoing issues with varying degrees of                                 form of litigation, which offers no immediate relief to
success. Within three weeks of the storm, Attorney                                   homeowners left with a concrete slab. Even if those
General Jim Hood filed suit against insurance carriers                               cases are successful, tens of thousands of uninsured
in an effort to require coverage of claims attributable                              and underinsured Mississippians will be unable to
to Katrina’s tidal surge,19 but the case is still pending                            recoup the tremendous, irreversible financial losses
in state court after a long procedural battle over                                   occasioned by the storm. For those lucky
removal. Governor Haley Barbour has used federal                                     Mississippians who can afford to begin rebuilding
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)                                             without policy proceeds, rate increases and coverage
funds to provide relief to certain classes of                                        restrictions imposed by insurers are making property
underinsured homeowners, but many of Mississippi’s                                   coverage unaffordable. The price of insurance alone
working-class homeowners (and all of her renters)                                    is threatening to change the demographics of the
have been left out of the process to this point.20                                   Coast, as only the very wealthy and their corporate
Barbour has also set aside $50 million of the CDBG                                   counterparts will be able to secure capital and protect
appropriation to help reduce the wind pool premium                                   their investments in real property.26 Simply put,

                                                          Resolving the Insurance Crisis: A Precursor to Rebuilding

Mississippi’s political leaders must dedicate
themselves to investing state and federal financial
resources in securing affordable insurance for working
class Mississippians. Mississippi’s corporate citizens,
including the insurance industry, must likewise
recognize the importance of affordable, insurable
workforce housing, if only to preserve their own
pecuniary interests. Recovery and renewal on the
Coast will be impossible without a resolution of the
insurance crisis that accrues to the benefit of the
average Mississippian.


   • The state of Mississippi should hold special
     hearings that look at past and present
     insurance practices. The goal of these
     hearings should be to help Mississippians
     understand what can and cannot be done to
     secure property against future disasters.

   • The consumer advocacy community needs
     to build strategies that help Mississippians,
     particularly low- to moderate-income
     individuals, to understand and navigate the
     insurance industry.

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later


 1. Chart, “Average Premium by Policy Form: Dwelling Fire and Homeowners Owner-Occupied Policy Forms,” 2003 Homeowners
     Insurance Report, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, January 5, 2006.

 2. Associated Press, “Miss. Tornado Damage Shows Need For Insurance,” USA Today, April 18, 2005.

 3. Gerard Shields and Michelle Millhollon, “Officials Say Feds Shortchanging La. In Storm Aid,” Baton Rouge Advocate, January
     26, 2006.

 4. Jeffrey Meitrodt and Rebecca Mowbray, “New Orleans Had Better Coverage Than Most Communities,” New Orleans Times
     Picayune, March 19, 2006.

 5. Lora Hines and Joshua Cogswell, “Uninsured Residents To Get Aid,” Jackson (Mississippi) Clarion Ledger, March 22, 2006.

 6. Daniel Rosenberg, “Wind Vs. Water: A New Wrinkle As Insurers Assess Katrina,” Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2005.

 7. Arnold Lindsay, “3-State Total For Insurance Claims Tops 400,000,” Jackson (Mississippi) Clarion Ledger, September 24, 2005.

 8. Larry Copeland, “After Katrina, Insurance Tops Family’s List Of Tough Battles,” USA Today, February 16, 2006.

 9. Rukmini Callimachi, “Insurance Limbo Delays Gulf Rebuilding,” Washington Post, June 12, 2006.

10. Press release, “Insurance Claims Paid in Mississippi Now Over $10 Billion,” Mississippi Department of Insurance,
     June 16, 2006.

11. Editorial, “Mississippi’s Invisible Coast,” Biloxi Sun Herald, December 14, 2005.

12. Michael Kunzelman, “First Katrina Insurance Suit Set To Open,” Boston Globe, July 10, 2006.

13. Press release, “Statute of Limitations on Insurance Contracts,” Mississippi Department of Insurance, June 8, 2006.

14. Anita Lee, “Insurers Reconsidering Wind Coverage,” Biloxi Sun Herald, March 2, 2006.

15. Laura Hipp, “Dale OKs Rate Hikes For 12 Insurance Companies,” Jackson (Mississippi) Clarion Ledger, June 23, 2006.

16. Scott Waller, “Wind Pool Files Request For 398 Percent Rate Increase,” Jackson (Mississippi) Clarion Ledger, April 28, 2006.

17. Shelia Byrd, “Dale Approves 90 Percent Increase In Wind Pool Rates,” Biloxi Sun Herald, July 28, 2006.

18. Geoff Pender, “Coast Leaders Prod Senate On Insurance,” Biloxi Sun Herald, August 9, 2006.

19. Jimmie E. Gates, “State Sues Insurance Companies,” Jackson (Mississippi) Clarion Ledger, September 16, 2005.

                                                                                       Resolving the Insurance Crisis: A Precursor to Rebuilding

20. Don Hammack and Joshua Nordan, “Grant Leaves Many Out,” Biloxi Sun Herald, March 16, 2006.

21. John Mott Coffey, “Coast’s Insurance Struggles Will Impact All Resident’s Pocketbooks, Officials Say,” Memphis Commercial
    Appeal, June 21, 2006.

22. See, for example, press release, “Insurers Directed To Grant Grace Periods In Hurricane-Impacted Areas,” Mississippi
    Department of Insurance, September 1, 2005.

23. See, for example, press release, “Insurers Directed to Fully Inspect Damaged Property Before Coverage Determinations,”
    Mississippi Department of Insurance, September 7, 2005.

24. Press release, “Over 1,000 Cases in Mississippi Hurricane Katrina Mediation Program Settle,” July 20, 2006.

25. Laura Hipp, “Miss. Senators Examining Effects Of Katrina On Insurance Policies,” Jackson (Mississippi) Clarion Ledger, August
    7, 2006.

26. Joshua Cogswell, “Officials: Coast Life May Be Too Costly,” Jackson (Mississippi) Clarion Ledger, March 16, 2006.

Housing Policy for the Mississippi Coast
By Edward Sivak, Director of Policy and Evaluation, Enterprise Corporation of
the Delta (ECD)
With Contributions from Jeffrey Lowe, Assistant Professor, Department of
Urban and Regional Planning, Florida State University
And Roland V. Anglin, Executive Director, Initiative on Regional and
Community Transformation, Rutgers University
Background and Context                                 This paper provides an overview of the housing
                                                       characteristics of the coast’s low- and moderate
Following the landfall of Hurricane Katrina, the       income residents prior to and after the storm and
Federal Emergency Management Agency issued             concludes with recommendations to allow all of the
Federal Disaster Area declarations for an area         Gulf Coast’s residents to participate in an equitable
covering 90,000 square miles.1 Immediately             rebuilding and transformation of Mississippi and
following the storm, over 2.7 million homes and        the region.
businesses were without power and hundreds of
thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed.2         The devastation wrought by the hurricane exposed a
In Mississippi alone, over 134,112 homes received      region beset by significant disparities in terms of
damage with 65,000 completely demolished.3             assets and ownership. Table 1 highlights key
                                                       socioeconomic demographics for Bay St. Louis,
Since August 29, 2005, the public, private, and        Biloxi, Gulfport, and Pascagoula, Mississippi, as
nonprofit sectors have been working hard to rebuild    compared to the rest of the nation.
the Gulf Coast. Through June, insurance claims in                                  Table 1
the six southernmost counties of the state topped      Selected Socio-Economic Characteristics In Hurricane-Affected Areas
                                                                    Bay St.       Biloxi,   Gulfport, Pascagoula,   United
250,000. It is expected that qualified homeowners                   Louis, MS     MS        MS        MS            States
will soon be receiving disaster recovery checks from   Median
the first round of homeowner assistance. Given the     Income       $41,957       $40,685   $39,213   $39,044       $50,046
insurance settlements and the pending disaster         Poverty Rate 13.1%         14.6%     17.7%     20.1%         12.4%

recovery payments, the coast would appear to be well   Home-
on its way to a full recovery. However, many of the    Rate         65.4%         49.1%     58.7%     56.7%         66.2%

coast’s residents—especially its low-wage working      Median
                                                       Home Value   $92,500       $92,600   $80,300   $68,300       $119,600
and elderly residents—still face challenges. For       Source: U.S. Census 2000
homeowners without insurance or low-wage workers
without affordable rental options few recovery         Table 1 illustrates two aspects of poverty—a lack of
opportunities exist.                                   income and a lack of assets. On the issue of income,

                                                                                     Housing Policy for the Mississippi Coast

low-wage workers are more likely to rent than high-            designated flood zone (FEMA-designated
wage workers. Approximately 40 percent of the                  100-year flood zone) on August 29, 2005,
housing units in the three southernmost counties               yet suffered flood damage as a result of
were either rented or vacant.4 With the coast                  Hurricane Katrina.
economy being rebuilt around low-wage service
                                                          Homeowners who qualify for the program will
sector jobs, the replacement of the rental stock at
                                                          receive $150,000 or the insured value of their
affordable levels is essential. On the issue of assets,
                                                          home—whichever is less. To date, more than 16,000
“home equity is the cornerstone of household wealth
                                                          people have applied to the program. Over $1 billion
for most Americans.”5 During a crisis, assets like
                                                          will go to qualified Gulf Coast residents through the
home equity are critical for covering expenses
associated with disaster or interruption of work.

Current Recovery Efforts: The Public Response             Current Recovery Efforts: The Private Response

Several critical elements that were unknown a year        With the recent court ruling upholding the exclusion of
ago are much clearer on the anniversary of the storm.     storm surge damages from traditional homeowner
Those elements include the public and private             insurance policies, homeowners who received storm
response to the storm’s damage to property on the         surge damage will be left to public resources, private
Gulf Coast. The Mississippi Development Authority         assets, or nonprofit/volunteer efforts to rebuild their
designed the Hurricane Katrina Grant Program to           homes. While some openings for homeowners remain
reach out to many Gulf Coast homeowners. To               based on determinations of the damage (wind vs.
participate in the program, residents needed to meet      water), the process will be complex and time
the following criteria:                                   consuming.

   • You owned and occupied your home as of               Gaps in the Public / Private Response
     August 29, 2005.
                                                          To date, much of the hurricane rebuilding discussion
   • Your home was located in the Mississippi             has focused on a specific group of homeowners. As
     counties of Harrison, Hancock, Jackson or            such, the following groups of Gulf Coast residents
     Pearl River.                                         will experience significant challenges as they try to
                                                          rebuild their lives and their homes:
   • Your home was your primary residence on
     August 29, 2005.                                        • Renters. Typically, renters are more likely to
                                                               have lower wages than homeowners and as
   • You maintained homeowner’s insurance on                   a result depend on affordable rental options.
     the property.                                             Very little attention has been focused on the
                                                               replacement of affordable rental stock on a
   • Your home was outside the pre-Katrina                     1:1 basis. Private developers do not have

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

        incentives to build affordable housing in a                                    diverse communities. Currently, LIHTC
        rapidly appreciating market.                                                   developers who focus their affordable housing
                                                                                       activities on communities with high poverty
    • Homeowners without Insurance. If                                                 rates receive a credit that is 30% higher than
      homeowners lived outside the flood plain                                         it would be for activity in other areas. Hence,
      and did not have insurance they will not                                         most LIHTC development occurs in areas of
      have the financial means to rebuild their                                        high poverty. The higher credit allows
      homes unless they rebuild with personal                                          developers to make rents more affordable
      assets. Elderly residents with fixed incomes                                     than in its absence. By expanding the higher
      have been documented to fall into this                                           credit to all areas affected by the hurricane (as
      group of people.                                                                 designated by FEMA), the LIHTC program
                                                                                       would serve to create incentives to build
    • Underinsured Homeowners. As noted                                                affordable housing in economically diverse
      above, homeowners who qualified for the                                          communities—not solely in the areas of high
      Hurricane Katrina Grant Program will                                             poverty concentration.6 A percentage of units
      receive $150,000 or the insured value of                                         in all LIHTC projects should be dedicated to
      their home—whichever is less. For people                                         very low income families.
      who purchased their home decades ago and
      paid off the mortgage, the likelihood that                                     • Develop a Small Rental Property
      the insurance was adjusted for inflation is                                      Assistance Program. Given the large
      low. They will most likely not receive the                                       number of units damaged, the Affordable
      full amount needed to rebuild.                                                   Small Rental Property Assistance Program
                                                                                       would specifically target the development of
    • Public Housing Residents. Many public                                            affordable housing for low- and moderate-
      housing units were destroyed during the                                          income Gulf Coast residents. The small
      storm. To date, the response for rebuilding                                      rental property assistance would be targeted
      the housing has been slow. Moving                                                toward small rental property owners and
      forward, public housing will be essential for                                    provide financial assistance to rehabilitate
      economic development as residents fill jobs                                      rental units at affordable rates. Small rental
      in the service sector economy of the Gulf                                        property owners would be expected to apply
      Coast.                                                                           for funds on a competitive basis with a
                                                                                       preference for higher levels of affordability.
Recommendations                                                                        Financial assistance would be classified into
                                                                                       two groups:
    • Designate all areas affected by Hurricane                                      • Group A: $25,000 per property owner who
      Katrina as qualified for the highest Low-                                        agrees to rent properties to people earning
      Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) to                                             80% of the Area Median Family Income;
      make rents affordable in economically                                          • Group B: $50,000 per property owner who

                                                                            Housing Policy for the Mississippi Coast

  agrees to rent properties to people earning         subsidized units (beyond public housing)
  60% of the Area Median Family Income;               damaged on the Gulf Coast and what
  the financial assistance would be structured        insurance payments will cover. With
  as a deferred payment 0% interest loan.             damage assessments already conducted by
  Small Rental Property Assistance recipients         the Department of Housing and Urban
  would be required to own and maintain the           Development, the need for the state to
  property with affordable rents for a                expediently release the funds to rebuild
  designated period. The subsidies should be          public housing is essential. As the public
  coupled with affordability period                   housing authorities (PHA) prioritize their
  requirements similar to those in the federal        needs, PHAs should use reconstruction
  HOME program: 20 years for any new                  funds to emphasize the redevelopment of
  construction; 15 years for rehabilitation           affordable housing in areas with best access
  greater than a cost of $40,000 per unit; 10         to job and educational opportunities, to
  years if the rehabilitation costs are less than     further community and workforce
  $40,000 but greater than $15,000.                   development.
  Assuming program compliance, the loan
  will be forgiven after the designated period.     • Homebuyer constructions counseling.
  If the property is sold or if the property          Homebuyer counseling has proven to
  owner breaks the agreement to provide               mitigate the risk of foreclosure by
  affordable rents, the property owner will be        educating homeowners about the
  required to immediately repay the loan.             responsibility of taking on the investment
  Following completion of each small rental           of a home and assisting them in avoiding
  property assistance project, the program            predatory lending practices that put
  administrator would work with a licensed            homeowners at financial risk and destabilize
  contractor to approve the rehabilitation            neighborhoods. Counseling activities that
  activities. Each small rental property              include a construction/contracting
  assistance owner would have access to               component protect homeowners from
  financial and construction counseling if            fraudulent home repair activities. Entities
  requested.                                          administering this important service should
                                                      have a track record of delivering counseling
• Move to Rebuild Public Worker Housing               and the capacity to address the following:
  in a Timely Manner. HUD’s estimated cost              • Budgeting for homeownership;
  of repair for the damage to Mississippi               • Communicating the home purchase
  Public Housing alone is $157 million; the                process from inquiry to close;
  Sun Herald reports that only $10 million of           • The importance of credit and
  the damage was insured. Additionally,                    opportunities for credit repair prior to
  HUD estimates that there is a $200 million               purchase;
  gap between what is required to repair                • Avoiding the equity stripping practices

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

            of predatory lenders;                                                    purchase a home.
          • Choosing reputable, dependable

    • Offer flexible mortgage products that
      accommodate hurricane-specific
      challenges. Existing mortgage programs
      will serve some but not all residents.
      Insurance settlements can be held up for
      FEMA resolutions, which have taken as
      long as 36 months in past situations, and
      SBA programs are restricted to repair and
      replacement of the original structure.
      Many low-income homeowners are likely to
      be uninsured or underinsured, while renters
      have limited cash for down payment. In
      addition, borrowers will face difficulty
      meeting traditional mortgage criteria due to
      hurricane-related issues such as unsettled
      insurance claims on existing mortgage, or
      late payments due to income disruption.
      Even people with strong credit may lose
      their homes due to the inability to
      simultaneously pay for an existing
      mortgage, temporary housing, and
      rebuilding costs. The flooding caused by
      the hurricanes in non-flood zones where
      flood insurance was almost nonexistent, has
      only exacerbated the problems. Mortgage
      products with flexible underwriting features
      that take into account a borrower’s pre-
      hurricane credit history and factor in other
      effects of the hurricane will be needed to
      ensure that low-income individuals and
      families participate in the long-term
      recovery. These products could be used by
      those facing mortgage defaults or
      foreclosure, or who have no other means to

                                                                                                    Housing Policy for the Mississippi Coast


1. www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/katrina.htm.

2. http://www.electricity.doe.gov/documents/katrina_083005_1000.pdf.

3. Benjamin Mokry, “Estimate of Homes Destroyed or Damaged by Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi” ( Jackson: Mississippi Home
   Corporation, October 2005), and Mark Bernstein et al., Rebuilding Housing Along the Mississippi Coast Ideas for Ensuring an
   Adequate Supply of Affordable Housing (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation: 2006).

4. Bernstein et al., Rebuilding Housing.

5. Eric S. Belsky, Nicholas Retsinas and Mark Duda. “The Financial Returns to Low-Income Homeownership” ( Joint Center for
   Housing Studies, Harvard University, copyright President and Fellows of Harvard College, September 2005).

6. Ibid.

Striking a Balance: Economic Development Strategies
To Rebuild the Gulf Coast Equitably
By Edward Sivak, Director of Policy and Evaluation, Enterprise Corporation
of the Delta (ECD)1
With Contributions from Rebecca Dixon, Policy Analyst, Enterprise
Corporation of the Delta (ECD)
Background and Context                                   have played an even larger than normal role in the
                                                         recovery, as government disaster assistance programs
On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf        have been structured to specifically target only those
Coast economy exhibits some notable signs of             with assets and insurance. Moving forward, asset-
recovery. Growth in the hospitality and construction     building strategies that target low-wealth people and
industries appears strong, and plans for condominium     communities are essential complements to economic
development are progressing. At face value, Gulf Coast   development efforts underway.2 This paper focuses
redevelopment is on track to “build the Coast back       specifically on the development of jobs and small
better than ever.” However, current development          businesses as a key component of a balanced strategy
trends, left unchecked, could rapidly accelerate the     for rebuilding.
divide between working families struggling to make
ends meet and those with a secure asset base from        Current Economic Development Trends
which to cope with life’s challenges. The historic
prevalence of low-wage jobs in gaming communities        The hospitality industry, aided by legislation permitting
coupled with a limited supply of affordable housing      coast casinos to become land-based operations, showed
present long-term workforce housing and commuting        strong growth through the first five months of the year.
challenges. Likewise, while the construction boom        Coastal gaming establishments experienced an increase
offers some local opportunities, the right workforce     in monthly revenue from $59.6 million in April to
development strategy is needed to train local people     $62.9 million in May.3 Additionally, the three coast
for the good jobs emerging from the demand for           casinos that were able to operate through May produced
qualified contractors.                                   more than half the amount of gaming tax revenue that
                                                         was generated by twelve casinos a year ago.4
One year after the storm, the presence or absence of
assets and insurance continues to play a significant     Not surprisingly, growth in the construction industry has
role in determining who participates in the rebuilding   also been strong, with public and private settlement
of the Gulf Region. In general, assets and insurance     payments beginning to reach businesses and
provide a safety net for people during and after an      homeowners. While many of the state’s employment
emergency. Since the storm, assets and insurance         sectors experienced nominal growth over the last year,

                                                           Striking a Balance: Economic Development Strategies to Rebuild the Gulf Coast Equitably

employment in the construction sector was up by 8.9                 needs to earn $40,223 to be financially self-sufficient.
percent. Similarly, heavy consumer spending on                      Given the rising costs of housing and transportation on
rebuilding materials since the storm has helped to                  the Gulf Coast, a job does not necessarily guarantee
stabilize the state’s fiscal outlook. Transfers from the state      economic security. Over time, good jobs pay long-term
sales tax receipts to the state general fund were up 17.2           dividends in the local economy by allowing people to
percent, and transfers from the state use tax (essentially a        build wealth through savings, home ownership, and
tax on out-of-state purchases) were up 35.9 percent                 small business development and postsecondary
compared to 6.1 percent and 2.0 percent in 2005. 5                  educational attainment. To address the needs of
                                                                    prospective employers and the local economy, a solid
A strong rebound for the gaming and hospitality                     job strategy must simultaneously prepare the workforce
industries is important for the economic recovery of                to contribute to current needs and to move up the
the Coast. Prior to the storm, twelve of the state’s                economic ladder through career advancement.
thirty casinos were located on the Gulf Coast. Gulf
Coast gaming and hospitality establishments                         Recovery Supports—The Nonprofit Sector
represented eight of the top twelve employers in
Biloxi. Biloxi casinos employed more than nine                      On the eve of the storm, the Gulf region was home to
thousand people and brought over five million visitors              more than 3,300 public charities, which employed more
to the Gulf Coast in 2004.6 At the same time, many of               than 37,000 people.8 As with other businesses, nonprofits
the jobs supplied by the hospitality industry paid low              experienced physical damage, business interruption, and
wages. The total number of hotel jobs tripled in                    the loss of equity. Despite the challenges incurred as a
Mississippi during the 1990s—the second highest rate                result of the disaster, nonprofit organizations met many
in the nation. However, industry growth did not                     of the relief and recovery needs of Coast residents.
translate into high-wage jobs. On average, hotel                    According to the Government Accountability Office,
workers in Mississippi earned $20,190 a year.7                      “Teams in Mississippi observed that the Salvation Army
                                                                    and smaller charities, such as local church organizations,
Within the construction industry, anecdotal evidence                filled many of the needs for volunteer services.”9
suggests that significant employment opportunities
exist for both skilled and unskilled laborers. Both sets            In addition to being a significant source of employment
of opportunities are not without challenges. Currently,             on the Gulf Coast, the nonprofit sector played an
the Gulf Coast does not have enough skilled laborers—               important role in getting people back into their homes
electricians and plumbers—to meet demand for                        and supporting jobs. The sector conducted thousands
services. Unskilled laborers, those more likely to earn a           of case management sessions and coordinated a
low wage, experience difficulty finding an affordable               significant number of home rebuilding efforts for Coast
place to live, which also contributes to labor shortages.           residents who were not covered by insurance or public
                                                                    disaster assistance. Often, rebuilding efforts included
The presence of jobs that pay well is important for a               the donation of building supplies such as sheetrock,
successful recovery on the Gulf Coast. A family of four             shingles, and the tools and skilled labor necessary to
with two young children living in Harrison County                   complete the work to local building codes.

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

The sector also has an important role to play in                                     Disaster Bridge Loan Program for a total of
supporting Gulf Coast workers. Through services such                                 approximately 12.3 million.12 For other disaster recovery
as homebuyer and construction counseling and job                                     capital needs, the Small Business Administration has
training, a strong nonprofit sector is vital to providing                            approved $2.3 billion in loans to businesses in
all Coast residents with the technical resources to                                  Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.13
rebuild their homes, maintain employment, and
advance economically over the long term.                                             Opportunities to strengthen the state’s small business
                                                                                     sector through the federal contracting system have
Small Business Profile                                                               been mixed. While small businesses fared well during
                                                                                     the procurement process, Mississippi businesses
Prior to the storm, 79.6 percent of the Mississippi Gulf                             received a fraction of the contracts. As of July 31, the
Coast’s businesses were firms with fewer than 20                                     Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported
employees. They employed more than 20,000 people                                     that 61.53 percent of its Federal Emergency
and contributed more than $484 million in payroll to                                 Management (FEMA) contracts were awarded to
the local economy.10 Locally, lending institutions saw                               small businesses, with 6.27 percent going to small
investment opportunities in small business development,                              disadvantaged businesses. Conversely, of the nearly
as lending to firms with less than $1 million in annual                              $7.1 billion in federal contracts for Katrina Recovery
revenue grew every year for the last five years except                               through July 31, only $198 million had been awarded
for the year of Hurricane Katrina (chart 1).                                         to Mississippi companies.14
                              Chart 1
Small Business Lending To Firms With Less Than $1 Million In Annual                  Moving forward, flexible, low-cost capital for Gulf
  Revenues 2001–2005 (values are in thousands of current dollars)
$300,000                                                                             Coast small businesses is essential for developing
                                         $278,255                                    locally owned businesses and rebuilding wealth in
              $217,114                                                               Coast communities. Long-term job development
                                                                                     concomitant with a small business development
                                                                                     strategy represents a major opportunity for all Gulf
                                                                   $157,778          Coast residents to build assets while participating in
                                                                                     an equitable recovery. The following
$100,000                                                                             recommendations address some of the issues related
                2001          2002         2003         2004          2005
                                                                                     to job development and the development of small
Source: U.S. Census 2000
Following the disaster, the state’s small businesses were
most in need of capital and opportunities to generate                                Recommendations
revenue. During a special session, the Mississippi state
legislature approved $25 million for “$25,000 short-                                    • Engage community colleges, the Workforce
term, interest-free small business loans.”11                                              Investment Network, and nonprofits to
Approximately 500 out of 600 small business applicants                                    implement workforce development programs
received funds from the Mississippi Small Business                                        to prepare people to participate in the

                                                     Striking a Balance: Economic Development Strategies to Rebuild the Gulf Coast Equitably

  impending construction boom and for new                             By lowering the cost of the capital and
  jobs that emerge as the region evolves.                             extending the terms of potential loans, the
  Construction activity in the Gulf region will                       small business owners would have improved
  generate job opportunities for several years.                       cash flow during the restart period. Different
  Furthermore, to the extent that residents can                       from the SBA Disaster Assistance Program,
  develop or acquire skills in the needed trades                      the proposed loan program would extend
  such as HVAC, electricity, and plumbing,                            capital to some of the smallest and most at
  construction jobs should pay prevailing wages.                      risk business restarts. These resources will
  Because of a surplus of job opportunities, the                      enable businesses to leverage financing from
  Gulf Coast has a unique opportunity to align                        banks and other capital sources.
  its workforce training systems—Adult Basic
  Education, Workforce Investment Network,                        • Expand small business resources to include
  and the community colleges—to train people                        nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit
  for careers with economic advancement                             organizations provide critical case-
  opportunities. Nonprofit organizations can                        management support to thousands of Gulf
  also serve as a critical gateway into the                         Coast residents. Case management includes
  training systems for the region’s most under-                     navigating disaster assistance programs,
  served individuals. As the region evolves, new                    connecting residents to mental health
  industries and related job opportunities will                     services, and, in some instances, locating
  also emerge. Assessments of the emerging                          supplies and labor to rebuild homes.
  business sectors and related jobs that will                       Nonprofit organizations are also essential for
  develop in the Gulf region must be made, and                      supporting the region’s low-wage workers. For
  programs put in place that will train local                       example, a strong network of nonprofit child-
  residents, across race and gender, to                             care centers is needed to educate young
  participate in the rebuilding and long-term                       children and to keep them safe while their
  economy of the region.                                            parents are at work. Both types of nonprofit
                                                                    organizations could benefit from flexible, low-
• Provide small businesses with access to                           cost, long-term resources to meet the strong
  affordable and flexible capital. After previous                   demand for services fostered by the disaster.
  disasters, government and insurance payments                      The mixture of loans, grants, and wage
  have taken months and even years to be                            subsidies made available to small businesses
  processed. A combination of low-interest                          could also be used to assist nonprofit
  loans, grants, and wage subsidies will help                       organizations. With several casinos slated to
  small and medium-size businesses recover                          reopen this year and the rapid development of
  from the lost equity and income suffered                          condominiums, the Gulf Coast recovery
  because of the hurricanes. Such funds would                       appears underway. Coast unemployment has
  be used to hire staff, replenish inventories, or                  dropped for eight straight months, and jobs
  make necessary repairs to physical facilities.                    are available. Early indications, however,

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

        suggest that the current recovery is one that is
        moving in a direction destined to produce
        profound inequities in opportunity and
        income. Many of the redevelopment
        opportunities could perpetuate inequality
        through an abundance of low-wage work and
        a lack of affordable housing. Moving forward,
        strategies will be needed to build a workforce
        that can compete for high-quality jobs, to
        support jobs through a vital non-profit sector,
        and to grow assets locally through strong
        small business development.

                                                            Striking a Balance: Economic Development Strategies to Rebuild the Gulf Coast Equitably


1. The authors would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Vincent Mangum with ECD, who provided the data and the
   analysis for Chart 1 in the Small Business Profile.

2. The link between home ownership and asset development is well documented (see, for example, Eric S. Belsky, Nicholas
   Retsinas, and Mark Duda. “The Financial Returns to Low-Income Homeownership” ( Joint Center for Housing Studies,
   Harvard University, copyright President and Fellows of Harvard College, September 2005). This section specifically looks at
   other asset-building strategies through work and small business development given the attention paid to home ownership in
   another section of this report.

3. Darrin Webb, Sr. Economist, Mississippi Institutions for Higher Learning Office of Policy, Research and Planning, “Mississippi
   Business: Monitoring the State’s Economy,” July 2006

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Biloxi General Market Analysis, available online at www.biloxi.ms.us/marketanalysis/gma2005/gma_fulldocument.pdf.

7. Howard Wial and Jeff Ricket, “U.S. Hotels and their Workers: Room for Improvement” (Washington, DC: AFL-CIO Working
   for America Institute, September 2002).

8. The Gulf region is defined as the following Metropolitan Statistical Areas: Gulfport/Biloxi, Pascagoula, and New Orleans. Data
   were taken from the Web site of the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute—National Center for
   Charitable Statistics, www.nccs.urban.org

9. United States Government Accountability Office, Statement by Cynthia Fagnoni, “Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Provision of
   Charitable Assistance,” December 13, 2005.

10. United States Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, “Employer Firms, Employment and Annual Payroll by Firm
    Size and Metropolitan Statistical Area, 2002” (available online at www.sba.gov/advo/research/msa.pdf).

11. Lora Hines, “Small Business Owners Trying to Bounce Back,” Jackson Mississippi Clarion Ledger, October 17, 2005.

12. Mississippi Development Authority, www.mississippi.org/content.aspx?url=/page/3016&.

13. Small Business Administration News Release: http://www.sba.gov/news/06-44.pdf.

14. Taken from the Web site of the Department of Homeland Security www.dhs.gov.

Preventing Predatory Lending
During the Rebuilding Process
By Reilly Morse, Equal Justice Works Katrina Legal Fellow
Mississippi Center for Justice

Background and Context                                     ownership rates for African American residents in
                                                           coastal Mississippi were disproportionately worse
Across the nation, discriminatory credit practices         than for white populations.4 In 2004, Mississippi had
challenge low-income and minority households               the top three highest market shares for subprime
seeking to purchase a home or refinance a mortgage.        refinancing in the United States, two on the coast
Those who cannot get mainstream bank credit often          (Pascagoula, 42.2 percent, and Gulfport, 41.3
get steered toward the subprime market. Some               percent) and the third in the state capital, Jackson
subprime lenders provide an important service by           (40.2 percent).5 African American coastal residents
making loans to those who do not meet the credit           recovering from Hurricane Katrina face intense credit
standards for the prime mortgage market, but others        hardships due to low income, limited assets, and
use predatory practices such as charging excessive         discriminatory subprime and predatory lenders.
interest rates, high fees, large prepayment penalties,
and “loan-flipping.”                                       Following the hurricane, President George Bush
                                                           named FDIC chief Donald Powell head of federal
The prevalence of subprime lending to minority             rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region.6 Record
populations is not explainable solely by credit quality,   mortgage delinquencies were reported after the
according to Fannie Mae.1 It is estimated that             hurricane, 8 percent for mainstream loans and 19.8
between one-third and one-half of borrowers in             percent for subprime borrowers compared to 1.77
subprime loans instead could have qualified for            percent prior to the storm.7 Federal banking agencies
lower-cost mortgages.2 In 2006, the Center for             issued regulatory guidance encouraging banks to
Responsible Lending released a landmark report that        work with borrowers affected by Katrina, chiefly by
analyzed more than 177,000 subprime loans and              deferring payments 90 to 120 days.8
established that borrowers of color are more likely to
receive higher-rate subprime loans and other onerous       As deferrals expired, some lenders have demanded
terms than similarly situated white borrowers.3            lump-sum repayments in order to prevent
                                                           foreclosure, ignoring contrary advice from federal
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, poverty and home               regulators.9 In October 2005, with little fanfare,

                                                                      Preventing Predatory Lending During the Rebuilding Process

Governor Haley Barbour invoked the Mississippi           pawnshops.21 Low-wage workers who have bank
Foreclosure Moratorium Act.10 This action would          accounts but lack simple lines of credit, including
enable homeowners to enjoin bank foreclosure and         welfare-to-work women and military personnel,22 are
set interim payments until October 4, 2007,              targeted by payday lenders. These check-cashing stores,
provided that they have more than 15 percent             pawnshops, and payday lenders are euphemistically
damage to their residence and are unable to bring        known as “alternative financial services.”
their mortgage current.11 Few homeowners are aware
of this, and fewer still have used this important        A 2004 study put the average cost of payday loans
option.12 In some instances, charities have              between $15 and $17 per $100, which for a two-
unnecessarily spent precious emergency funds on          week loan is equivalent to annual rate between 391
arrearages for desperate borrowers that could have       percent and 443 percent.23 Consumer research
been saved by court action.13                            discloses that roll-over and back-to-back loans are
                                                         widespread in the industry and trap an estimated five
Hurricane Katrina destroyed many coastal Mississippi     million borrowers in a cycle of debt.24 Between 2000
bank office facilities and displaced personnel.14        and 2003, the payday lending industry has
According to FDIC, Katrina will bring higher             quadrupled in size.25 America now has more payday
economic losses and will require greater levels of       loan stores than McDonald’s restaurants. 26
disaster assistance than any other hurricane,
earthquake, or flood in the past twenty-five years.15    About two-thirds of the households in coastal
Mississippi-based banks and thrifts experienced drops    Mississippi exposed to the surge were below the U. S.
in net income and increases in past-due loans in the     median household income level.27 In Gulfport and
fourth quarter of 2005.16 The first quarter of 2006      Biloxi, the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s two largest cities,
brought a significant rebound in which these             alternative financial services outnumbered bank
institutions earned record net income of $616 million,   branches nearly two to one. Mississippi law allows
mainly from double-digit gains in net interest           payday lenders to charge $18 per $100 borrowed,
income.17 The rate of past-due loans went down           which for a two-week loan works out to an annual
significantly for banks and thrifts headquartered in     rate of 468 percent.
coastal Mississippi.18 FDIC predicts long-term
adverse impacts for Gulf Coast households.19             Conclusion

Payday Lending                                           Predatory lending practices were prevalent before
                                                         Hurricane Katrina. These practices have sapped the
The most basic way to participate in America’s           ability of low-income and minority communities to
mainstream economy is to have a bank account. A          build a strong asset base that might have forestalled
2001 report found that one-quarter of families with      some of the extreme vulnerability that we are now
incomes below 80 percent of the area median income       seeing in the storm’s aftermath. Special attention
had no bank account.20 These “unbanked” households       must be paid to outreach and education during the
must resort to costly check-cashing stores, and          rebuilding process as many vulnerable households

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

receive compensation for lost housing. This is a                                       investigation and enforcement of consumer
unique opportunity to help educate vulnerable                                          protection laws.
communities about the importance of solid financial
practices that build individual and family wealth.                                   • Adopt socially just disaster-recovery
                                                                                       solutions for minority and low-income
Recommendations                                                                        populations. Mississippi’s banking industry
                                                                                       should follow the lead of ECD/HOPE
    • Work with local and national community                                           Community Credit Union by offering zero
      development financial institutions                                               percent interest bridge loans to individual
      (CDFIs), banks, and other relevant                                               hurricane victims, and adjusting credit
      stakeholders to implement outreach and                                           evaluation to account for storm dislocation.
      education programs to help low-income                                            Mississippi’s banking industry also should
      and minority households acquire the                                              offer consumers a pre-Katrina credit score
      financial skills to avoid financial distress                                     that does not penalize them for the
      due to predatory lending. The problem of                                         economic dislocations caused by delays in
      predatory lending, nationally, has led to the                                    receiving federal and state disaster aid.
      development of sophisticated curriculums                                         Mississippi’s banking industry should
      and training methodologies. Relevant                                             increase placement of branch banks in low-
      stakeholders should form a special effort to                                     income communities and offer services to
      galvanize local funders, CDFIs, faith                                            low-wage workers like those found in the
      institutions, and others to form an Asset                                        Ford Foundation’s Capital Ideas initiative.
      Building Collaboration whose mission is to
      protect and enhance the assets of vulnerable                                   • Support federal legislation that prohibits
      communities.                                                                     predatory practices by subprime lenders,
                                                                                       and enables states to enact additional
    • Build advocacy capacity to enact protective                                      consumer protections. Mississippians
      laws that prevent predatory lending by                                           should urge support for legislation such as
      subprime lenders and alternative financial                                       HR 1182, the “Prohibit Predatory Lending”
      services in Mississippi. Mississippi should                                      bill, which would make federal the
      follow the lead of fourteen other states and                                     protections enacted in North Carolina.
      eliminate payday lending and prevent                                             There should be opposition to HR 1295,
      national chains from evading state bans by                                       the Ney/Kanjorski “Responsible Lending”
      partnering with chartered banks.28                                               bill, which would prohibit state predatory
      Mississippi should also adopt measures to                                        lending laws.29
      prohibit predatory lending by subprime
      lenders, modeled on North Carolina
      legislation. Mississippi should increase the
      state attorney general’s budget for

                                                                                   Preventing Predatory Lending During the Rebuilding Process


 1. Robert Van Order and Peter Zorn, “Performance of Low-Income and Minority Mortgages,” in Low-Income Homeownership:
    Examining the Unexamined Goal, ed. Nicolas Retsinas and Eric Belsky (2002), 324.

 2. “Automated Underwriting” (Freddie Mac, September 1996); “Financial Services in Distressed Communities” (Fannie Mae
    Foundation, August 2001).

 3. Debbie Gruenstein Bocian, Keith S. Ernst, and Wei Li, “Unfair Lending: The Effect of Race and Ethnicity on the Price of
    Subprime Mortgages” (Center for Responsible Lending, May 31, 2006), 3.

 4. “Recovering States? The Gulf Coast Six Months After the Storms” (Oxfam America briefing paper, February 2006), 8.

 5. Allen Fishbein and Patrick Woodall, “Subprime Cities: Patterns of Geographic Disparity in Subprime Lending” (Consumer
    Federation of America, September 8, 2005), 9.

 6. Ibid., 13.

 7. Kirsten Downy, “Mortgage Payments Lag in Katrina Zone,” Washington Post, March 15, 2006, A3.

 8. An innovator in service to low-income and minority storm victims is HOPE Community Credit Union, which markets products
    such as zero interest bridge loans pending receipt of disaster or insurance benefits. ECD HOPE Consumer Recovery Products
    and Services Fact Sheet, http://www.hopecu.org/Katrina.htm.

 9. Ibid.

10. http://www.dbcf.state.ms.us/documents/proclomation_barbour.pdf.

12. Miss. Code Ann. § 89-1-301 et seq.

13. Mississippi Center for Justice and Mississippi Center for Legal Services, personal communication with Katrina victims and
    coastal Mississippi chancery courts.

14. Mississippi Center for Justice and Mississippi Center for Legal Services, personal communication with Katrina victims and
    coastal Mississippi chancery courts.

15. FDIC Outlook, December 2005, 13.

16. Ibid., 9.

17. Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation, “Mississippi State Profile,” Spring 2006, 1.

18. Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation, “Mississippi State Profile,” Summer 2006, 1.

19. Ibid., 2.

20. Ibid.

21. “The State of the Nation’s Housing: 2001” (Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies), 29.

22. Yolanda McGill, “Payday Lending: Harmful to Women” (Center for Responsible Lending, issue brief no. 19,
    September 16, 2004).

23. Ozlem Tanik, “Payday Lenders Target the Military” (Center for Responsible Lending, issue paper 11, September 29, 2005).

24. Keith Ernest et al., “Quantifying the Economic Cost of Predatory Payday Lending” (Center for Responsible Lending, December
    18, 2003, rev. February 2004), 2–3.

25. Ibid., 3–5, 9.

26. “Payday Factsheet” (Center for Responsible Lending, April 1, 2005), 1.

27. “Capital Ideas” (Ford Foundation Report, Fall 2004), 1.

28. Mississippi Gulf Coast Financial Services Comparison, Jerry Reynolds, Enterprise Corporation of Delta/HOPE Community
    Credit Union.

29. “Fact Sheet—Predatory Lending” (Center for Responsible Lending), 2.

30. Comparison: http://www.responsiblelending.org/fed_state_update/index.cfm.

Role of the Faith Community in Relief, Recovery,
Rebuilding, and Transformation
By Frederick A. Davie, President, Public/Private Ventures

Background and Context                                     congregations as opposed to other sorts of assemblies,
                                                           the moral weight they carry, and the holistic
Forest Thigpen of the Mississippi Center for Public        approach they often take toward clients. A 2001
Policy1 puts it plainly: “Churches have responded very     report by the National Congress on Community
biblically to the storm.” The same can be said of other    Economic Development said that “faith groups have
faith-based organizations throughout the Gulf region       been a major force in the community development
as well. By many accounts, congregations and other         movement and today constitute one of its fastest
faith institutions were the first and most effective       growing segments.” About 14 percent of CDCs at
responders after Katrina. And they continue to serve       the time of that report were faith-based.
an essential role in the long-term revitalization of the
area. I see this happening in three primary ways:          This would seem to be supported by the example of
community development and renewal, spiritual               Mississippi’s terrific faith-based organizations. Their
development and restoration, and prophetic witness         achievements before and after Katrina are especially
and action. Foundations and policy makers can              impressive, given the difficult circumstances under
support faith-based organizations in their work.           which they work. Mississippi often ranks at or near the
                                                           bottom in many economic measures, such as per capita
Faith-Based Community Economic Development                 income. Still, the Mississippi Governor’s Commission
in Mississippi                                             on Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal says, speaking
                                                           of faith-based and other nongovernmental
First, a word about faith-based community economic         organizations (NGOs): “Mississippi has consistently
development, and the status of such organizations in       led the nation in per capita contributions to charitable
Mississippi before and after Katrina. Faith-based          causes; however, services per capita provided by NGOs
community development corporations (CDCs) do               in Mississippi fall far short of those in neighboring
much the same kind of work as their secular                states. In South Mississippi, the aftermath of Katrina
counterparts, such as job development and job              has demonstrated the critical role these organizations
training, building affordable housing, and so on. But      play in keeping the social fabric of communities
they distinguish themselves by the religious nature of     intact.” Reporting last December, the commission
their inspiration, their inclination to work through       expected that the next several months would “show

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

that Katrina taxed some NGOs beyond the limits of                                       response teams were equipped with
long-term sustainability.”                                                              generators, clean-up supplies, and tools that
                                                                                        would move in to coastal areas as damage
Storm survivors presented a variety of material, spiritual,                             assessments were made.
and political needs, all which faith-based groups
admirably met. I will discuss these needs in turn.                                    • Catholic Charities of Mississippi continues
                                                                                        to address needs for emergency assistance,
Community Development and Renewal                                                       long-term housing, case management, and
                                                                                        therapy. By working through local churches
Churches, denominational organizations, and other                                       and groups, Catholic Charities receives
faith-based organizations were often first responders                                   referrals from across the diocese to help
throughout the affected areas, providing food, shelter,                                 displaced families and individuals in need of
transportation, and counseling.                                                         information and referral and/or emergency
    • “Virtually all of the shelters in the Jackson
      area were run by churches,” says Forest                                        These churches and other organizations were
      Thigpen of the Mississippi Center for                                          suited to relief work because they were local,
      Public Policy. He adds, “The Southern                                          well known, and well trusted, and in some cases
      Baptist Disaster Response Teams were on                                        were part of established regional or national
      the ground within 48 hours of the storm,                                       networks through which they could collect
      serving up to a half-million meals per day                                     donations and provide services. As storm
      throughout the region, including                                               survivors’ needs stretched out well past the
      Louisiana.”                                                                    hurricane, some of these organizations started
                                                                                     planning for long-term services and rebuilding.
    • Cassandra Carmichael, a representative of the
      National Council of Churches (NCC), says                                        • Catholic Charities’ “Long-Term Recovery
      all of NCC’s 35-member denominations                                              Offices” in Jackson and Natchez provide
      provided relief—many through formal                                               free supplies for rebuilding efforts, mental
      denominational relief organizations—in                                            health services, limited financial support,
      Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.                                                advocacy for individual rights, and aid for
                                                                                        policies to bolster those rights, as well as
    • For example, the relief arms of the                                               case management to assist with securing
      Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Lutheran                                             government resources, thereby forming
      churches have done relief work in                                                 stronger communities.
                                                                                      • The United Methodist Committee on
    • Many local Methodist churches across the                                          Relief (UMCOR) ranked sixth on
      affected areas acted as shelters, and their                                       Newsweek’s July 10, 2006, “Big Names in

                                                    Role of the Faith Community in Relief, Recovery, Rebuilding, and Transformation

  Katrina Relief ” in terms of total amount                   Center works with people on a temporary-
  raised. UMCOR raised some $64.5 million                     housing site with 130 trailers and provides
  for hurricane relief and rehabilitation that                relief, housing advocacy, job search
  will fund long-term recovery for the next                   readiness, income tax–preparation
  three years. UMCOR hires and trains local                   assistance, counseling, and after-school
  people to be case managers and work with                    enrichment. “Mental health is still a big
  survivors to create their own plans of                      issue,” says Boutte, who describes the many
  recovery, and connect them with the                         changes people have been through—
  resources to succeed.                                       evacuation, crisis centers, hotel stays,
                                                              separation anxiety, and now the first
• Courtney Cowart is director of the Office of                anniversary of the storm.
  Disaster response of the Episcopal Diocese of
  Louisiana. She says the office is planning to      Emergency relief is a fairly straightforward kind of
  launch a project called “Houses in the Spirit      support—someone is hungry, thirsty, or homeless,
  of Homes.” It will work with 50 master             you give them food, water, or shelter. Relatively few
  builders in New Orleans—experts in                 organizations are equipped to understand and
  carpentry, bricklaying, and other specialties—     address more entrenched challenges, such as long-
  whose skills have been passed down through         term community economic development. Those
  many generations. This program pays those          that are so equipped usually benefit from large and
  master builders to train a younger generation      established networks. For the smaller organizations,
  in this work, so they can then help to restore     there is the Mississippi Faith-Based Coalition for
  the housing stock, mostly low-income               Community Renewal. The Coalition was founded
  housing stock. The program is a housing            in 2001 and now boasts 1,500 member
  program, an educational program, and a             organizations. Its director, Jacqueline Johnson, says
  workforce development program, all wrapped         that the Coalition works to build member
  into one. It helps preserve the indigenous         organizations’ capacity by providing technical
  culture of the city. Cowart says,                  assistance, grant-writing workshops and networking
  “Traditionally, master builders raised each        conferences. After Katrina, the Coalition re-
  other’s houses. This is the way it’s done here,    granted funds from World Vision, World Relief,
  in our community, we help one another, and         Enterprise Coalition of the Delta, and others to
  we can do it again.” Rev. Donald Boutte,           small churches and organizations. Through this
  pastor of St. John Baptist Church in New           work, the Coalition seeks to rally the many small
  Orleans, tells how people from the Louisiana       but promising organizations around the state.
  Baptist Convention established so-called           Johnson adds that faith-based organizations
  Resurrection                                       continue to provide essential services like day care,
                                                     out-of-school programs, and job skills training—
• Centers in Louisiana and later in                  filling needs that, after Katrina, have only become
  Mississippi. At the Baton Rouge site, the          more acute.

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

Spiritual Development and Restoration                                                  www.policylink.org) in its Gulf Coast
                                                                                       recovery work. He says, “Pastors need to have
In order for faith communities to support rebuilding,                                  a predictable income so that they can be
they must be supported. The physical church buildings                                  civically engaged and tend to their
have in some cases been destroyed. While some have                                     congregations. Much of the funding that does
found temporary new places of worship for those in                                     exist for churches is for bricks and mortar, not
their congregations who have returned, they need                                       for support of the leadership. Ministers can’t
permanent houses of worship to serve viably in the                                     play a prophetic role if they’re just trying to
effort to rebuild. Supporting clergy has also become                                   survive. Many of these churches are pastored
critically important, and where clergy are not                                         by men who have dedicated 25 to 40 years of
supported, the faith communities have had a much                                       their life to ministry.…[I]n the small churches
harder time reconstituting. Many pastors have suffered                                 there’s a lot of loyalty to the pastors. There’s a
the same traumas as everyone else, in some cases in                                    lot of potential if the investment were made.”
addition to the loss of their church building and/or the
dispersal of their congregations. They need stable                                   • An innovative program called Churches
incomes in order to be able to resurrect and lead their                                Supporting Churches has formed as a
congregations in taking an active role in rebuilding.                                  working group of the National Council of
Various efforts have assisted in the process of restoring                              Churches. The goal is to have 360
church buildings and pastors’ lives.                                                   congregations nationwide helping 36
                                                                                       African American congregations in New
    • Speaking of interfaith grants by the Bush-                                       Orleans to rebuild (10 churches nationally
      Clinton Katrina Fund, co-chair Alexis                                            for each church in New Orleans). The goal
      Herman says, “Houses of worship are the                                          is to “Restart, Reopen, Repair or Rebuild
      center of many communities in the Gulf                                           the Churches in order for them to be agents
      region. I know because I grew up there.                                          for community development and to re-create
      They are the lifeblood of the people and a                                       their community.” The project’s strategy is
      way for them to stay connected. It is                                            threefold: First, to strengthen the health and
      important to help rebuild.” Twenty million                                       unity of the pastors, spouses, and members
      of the Fund’s first $100 million in grants                                       as they try to return to New Orleans.
      supports a ministerial partnership with local                                    Second, to rebuild the bricks and mortar
      and regional faith-based organizations,                                          and spiritual life of these congregations and
      which were instrumental in the immediate                                         to make the pastors and their members
      aftermath of Hurricane Katrina but require                                       socially active agents for meeting present
      our help to continue providing critical                                          and returning people’s human needs in each
      services to their communities.                                                   community. Third, the strategy extends and
    • Rev. Donald Boutte, pastor of St. John                                           expands the capacity of the historical role of
      Baptist Church in New Orleans, is a                                              the African American church as the key
      consultant to PolicyLink (see                                                    agent for community.

                                                           Role of the Faith Community in Relief, Recovery, Rebuilding, and Transformation

Projects like these recognize the essential role of                  and in cities across the nation last
churches and pastors in forming communities around                   December, urging Congress to fund Gulf
which rebuilding efforts can cohere. They also                       Coast rebuilding without cutting children’s
recognize the spiritual needs of both the pastor and                 health care. PICO activist Deacon Allen
the congregation. The trauma of this catastrophe is                  Stevens of St. Phillip the Apostle Catholic
deep, and the deep spiritual heritage of the faith                   Church (destroyed) in New Orleans, says,
community of the Gulf region can be a source of                      “As people of faith we refuse to accept the
healing and restoration for clergy and lay people alike.             lie that our nation does not have the
                                                                     resources to help families who lost
Prophetic Witness and Action                                         everything in Katrina or that honoring
                                                                     commitments to the Gulf Coast requires
Faith institutions are approaching the long-term                     cutting children off health care or taking
rebuilding of the Gulf Coast with a concern for                      away their wheelchairs and hearing aids.”
justice, and thus have a prophetic role in the process.
                                                            These and other organizations draw on religious
   • Interfaith Worker Justice and Good Jobs                concepts of justice, and religious networks of clergy
     First convened faith leaders, academics,               and laity alike, in order to call attention to the way in
     builders, and others for the Gulf Coast                which the Gulf Coast is rebuilt. They realize that
     Commission on Reconstruction Equity. The               rebuilding is not just about bricks and mortar, but
     Commission issued a February 2006 report               about how communities are protected, destroyed,
     called “Good Work and Fair Contracts:                  supported, or hindered according to their race, their
     Making Gulf Coast Reconstruction Work for              wealth, or other factors.
     Local Residents and Businesses.” Its mission
     is to “shine a light on our government’s               Conclusion
     contracting and rebuilding efforts and call
     for desperately needed reforms.”                       One leader of the region said, “[G]overnment here is
                                                            not functioning. I was in four or five different
   • The PICO Network has a national media                  meetings, one was about housing development, but I
     campaign and did some prayer events. In                can’t reach them on the phone because there’s no one
     the region affected by Katrina, PICO is                in the office. Basic things that you would normally
     most active in Louisiana as LIFT                       rely on the city to do, the city isn’t doing. Our little
     (Louisiana Interfaith Together). In May                coalition met after that and decided, I guess we’re just
     2006, PICO launched the national “Why                  going to have to do it ourselves. We’ve got to walk
     the Wait” media campaign to press                      the neighborhoods, we’ve got to staff the phone lines,
     Congress to complete work on emergency                 and we’re going to have to organize people, create the
     Gulf Coast funding legislation that includes           mentor programs, and develop the labor to
     full funding for housing and levees. PICO              rehabilitate affordable housing. The list just goes on
     also held prayer events in the U.S. Senate             and on and on.” And so do the efforts of faith-based

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

organizations. Recognizing and supporting the role of                                     communicate with potential partners and
faith-based organizations is essential to effective and                                   funders; program modeling, similar to the
lasting recovery in the Gulf region.                                                      Ford Foundation’s site visit program where
                                                                                          founders of the Resurrection Centers traveled
Recommendations                                                                           to visit other successful organizations.

Faith institutions have identified a need for technical                                • Provide access. Ensure that faith-based
assistance, capacity building, coordination, and                                         organizations have representation on
communication among various efforts, and support for                                     rebuilding commissions and government
both individual churches and clergy, and the unique                                      agencies at every level. Such representation
elements of their work—prophetic witness and action.                                     helps government commissions and faith-
                                                                                         based organizations share their knowledge
    • Support knowledge-sharing. Faith-based                                             and resources for the common goal of
      organizations need to know what other                                              community renewal.
      efforts are being made, so that they can best
      direct their spiritual and material resources.                                   • Support churches and pastors. For
      Sharing knowledge through regional                                                 congregations to help their communities
      conferences and fact-finding trips is essential.                                   rebuild, they need church buildings and pastors
                                                                                         with reliable incomes so that they can carry out
    • Provide funds for staff and space. With the                                        the work of ministry. Fund pastors’ incomes
      office space of many faith groups and                                              for the long term, twelve months or more.
      coalitions destroyed and with the need to
      launch new programs to meet the needs of                                         • Support prophetic witness and action.
      the citizens of the region, faith groups need                                      Concrete needs like housing, jobs, and food
      support for staff and space. Most donors                                           are important, and faith-based organizations
      want their resources targeted to direct                                            can help address those needs. Also important
      services. But unless resources are available                                       is the spiritual sustenance of people in areas
      for overhead costs, the effectiveness of                                           hit by Katrina. Faith-based organizations
      service delivery gets compromised.                                                 are unique in their ability to articulate a
                                                                                         guiding vision of justice.
    • Provide technical assistance and funds to
      build capacity. Such assistance can be
      provided through state or regional networks
      such as the Mississippi Faith-Based Coalition
      for Community Renewal. Types of support
      include: ongoing training for grant writing;
      providing computers with Internet access, so
      that smaller organizations learn about and                                     1. Mississippi Center for Public Policy, www.mspolicy.org.

Human Rights and Mississippi Displaced Residents
By Monique Harden, Co-Director
Advocates for Environmental Human Rights

Background and Context                                   they can return to their communities or settle in
                                                         other communities. In fact, there are numerous
Mississippi residents are among the nearly 750,000       examples of our government taking action that makes
households who have been displaced from the Gulf         it increasingly difficult for displaced residents to find
Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.1            their way home. Neglecting the needs of displaced
Current estimates show that of the 47,000                residents is a critical problem that expands on the
Mississippi residents who fled their communities in      failures of our government to adequately respond to
the wake of Hurricane Katrina, only 27,000 have          the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. Such
returned to rebuild their homes in communities that      neglect stems not only from the ineffectiveness of the
have not fully recovered one year after the storm.2      Stafford Act, which governs disaster response, but the
There are more than 101,000 Mississippi residents        non-existence of legal protections for displaced
living in temporary FEMA trailers.3 According to         residents. As a result, displaced residents are
the American Red Cross, 47 counties in Mississippi       subjected to a complex and historic interplay of race,
sustained hurricane damage to single-family houses,      class, and the lack of access to housing, health care,
apartments, and mobile homes, but the majority of        education, and economic opportunities.
the damage occurred in the coastal counties of
Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson, where more than          Long before Hurricane Katrina, governmental and
64,000 homes were completely destroyed and more          institutional barriers had systemically denied
than 70,000 homes damaged.4 As a consequence,            opportunities to people of color and the poor in
each of the Mississippi coastal counties have            Mississippi. The extent of such denials have worsened
experienced a significant population decline, while      in the year following Katrina, which has witnessed the
counties located further inland now have an influx of    injustice of our government abandoning people in flood
displaced residents.                                     waters, evicting hurricane survivors from temporary
                                                         homes when they have no place else to go, and
                                                         ignoring the need for a full and comprehensive recovery
The sad fact is that hundreds of thousands of people
                                                         of hurricane-damaged communities. The fact that
from Mississippi and the Gulf Coast region, who are
                                                         hundreds of thousands of Mississippians and Gulf
predominantly African American and poor, have no
                                                         Coast residents remain displaced from their homes and
assurance by local, state, and federal government that

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

communities one year after Hurricane Katrina                                         displaced people with access to housing, health care,
constitutes a human rights crisis caused by the                                      education, and economic security; and ensure that
egregious failure of the U.S. government to ensure a                                 internally displaced people can meaningfully
hurricane recovery plan that protects the human rights                               participate in governmental decision making.
of equality and nondiscrimination, housing, education,
health care, and economic security.                                                  In keeping with the United Nations’ Guiding
                                                                                     Principles, the U.S. State Department established a
United States and International Policies on                                          similar policy, Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons
Internally Displaced People                                                          Policy—nearly one year before Hurricane Katrina
                                                                                     struck the Gulf Coast region.6 Recognizing that a
Human rights policies established by the United                                      natural or man-made disaster can result in internal
Nations and the United States would define                                           displacement, the stated purpose of the policy is to
Mississippians who cannot return to their                                            protect the human rights of displaced people who are
communities as internally displaced people. The issue                                among the “world’s most vulnerable population
of internally displaced people has been on the                                       groups”7 because they suffer mental trauma ills related
international community’s radar for more than a                                      to their displacement,8 their homes have been
decade following the fall of the Soviet Union, which                                 destroyed,9 they face governmental barriers to
resulted in civil strife in several countries that forced                            returning home or resettling in new communities,10
massive numbers of people to flee their homelands,                                   and they are uprooted multiple times, creating
and the increasing severity of natural disasters                                     setbacks in education and health care.11 Thus, the
similarly forcing mass evacuations. In 1998, the                                     articulated goal of the policy is to prevent prolonged
United Nations developed the Guiding Principles on                                   displacement by addressing the needs of internally
Internal Displacement as an international human                                      displaced people in all phases of their displacement.
rights standard for protecting the rights of people                                  According to the policy, the United States is
who are displaced as a result of a natural or man-                                   committed to fulfilling the following:
made disaster, but remain in their sovereign
nations.5                                                                              1. Humanitarian Assistance—provide housing,
                                                                                          food, water, sanitation systems, and health
The Guiding Principles are premised on the                                                care; and provide access to education,
understanding that, unlike refugees who cross an                                          training, microcredit, legal documents,
international border, internally displaced people do not                                  trauma counseling, locating families, and
have international legal protections. Thus, the                                           support to improve self-reliance.12
principles articulate specific measures that
governments should take in order to protect the                                        2. Return and Transition Assistance—provide
human rights of internally displaced people. Briefly,                                     transportation to return home; help to
the principles recommend that governments should                                          reclaim land and rebuild houses and
be proactive in preventing the conditions that can                                        businesses; support accountable local
result in internal displacement; provide internally                                       governance and strengthen civil society; and

                                                                              Human Rights and Mississippi Displaced Residents

     safeguard the rights of female-headed                African American population, with regard to
     households.13                                        homelessness, loss of property, inadequate access to
  3. Long-Term Development Assistance—                    health care, loss of educational opportunities, legal
     construct infrastructure, health care systems,       remedies and voting rights.” 17 The Committee
     and schools; develop modes of transportation         indicated that the U.S. government’s responses to
     and transportation routes; and support access        Hurricane Katrina called into question whether the
     to vocational training and business loans.14         human rights of racial equality and nondiscrimination
                                                          were protected as required by the International
Clearly, policies of both the United States and the       Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.18
United Nations speak to the needs of people who           Additionally, Human Rights Committee members
have been displaced from Mississippi and the Gulf         questioned the glaring omission of any reference to
Coast region. Such policies have become more              the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal
relevant to the daily lives of displaced Gulf Coast       Displacement in the U.S. government’s report of its
residents as the U.S. government’s handling of the        responses to Hurricane Katrina.
disaster becomes increasingly problematic and
requires continuous improvised measures to alter          It is important to note that the U.S. government in
programs15 and overhaul agencies.16 However, the          its report to the Human Rights Committee assumed
policies for internal displacement do not guide the       no responsibility for the numerous deaths that could
governmental recovery efforts taking place in             have been prevented with an effective evacuation
Mississippi or anywhere else in the Gulf Coast            plan, nor did our government express an obligation to
region. In fact, not one governmental agency or           protect the large population of displaced people who
official has even publicly considered these policies in   are facing homelessness. Instead, according to the
the development of disaster recovery plans.               report, the U.S. government merely views the
                                                          continued suffering of many Gulf Coast residents,
International Pressure on U.S. Government to              who are predominantly African American, as
Protect Human Rights on the Gulf Coast                    “valuable lessons.”19 Further, the U.S. government
                                                          delegation took the position that human rights
From July 10, 2006 to July 28, 2006, the Human            policies for internally displaced people only applied in
Rights Committee of the United Nations Office of          cases of “violent conflicts and gross violations of
the High Commissioner convened a session to               human rights,” and, therefore, did not apply to
monitor the U.S. government’s compliance with the         displaced people from the Gulf Coast.20 Such a claim
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,     is entirely contradicted by the text of both the United
a human rights treaty that has been ratified by the       Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement
U.S. government. For this session, the UN Human           and the U.S. Department of State’s Assistance to
Rights Committee specifically instructed the U.S.         Internally Displaced Persons Policy. The U.S.
government to respond to information that                 government’s statements regarding its responses to
governmental measures in response to Hurricane            Hurricane Katrina indicate an abdication of its vitally
Katrina “have exacerbated problems in respect to the      important responsibility to protect American lives, as

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

well as a disregard for the human rights of hurricane                                recommendation,22 which provides important
survivors who remain displaced.                                                      opportunities for citizen participation and advocacy.

The U.S. government could have used the UN                                           Recommendations
Human Rights Committee’s session as an
opportunity to candidly discuss the challenges                                       Given the international attention on the U.S.
presented by the worst natural disaster in U.S.                                      government’s human rights record in the aftermath
history, which include the realities of structural                                   of Hurricane Katrina, Mississippians have the
exclusion that have been greatly magnified in the                                    opportunity to demand that the U.S. government end
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as well as the                                        the prolonged displacement suffered by hundreds of
absence of laws or governmental systems that are                                     thousands of people. There is a great need for
protective of internally displaced people and                                        educating, organizing, and advocating for human
responsive to recovery needs in Mississippi and the                                  rights in Mississippi’s storm-ravaged communities in
Gulf Coast. However, the Human Rights                                                order to protect the rights of displaced people.
Committee has used this session to view the issues
candidly and establish steps to resolve them. On                                     The following recommendations are intended to
July 28, 2006, at the conclusion of its session, the                                 assist displaced residents and social justice advocates
Committee instructed the U.S. government to:                                         in advocating for human rights protection in the
                                                                                     rebuilding of Mississippi’s coastal communities.
     review its practices and policies to ensure the
     full implementation of its obligation to                                        Key advocacy groups for the Katrina Diaspora should
     protect life and of the prohibition of                                          use the principles of the United Nations’ Guiding
     discrimination, whether direct or indirect, as                                  Principles on Internal Displacement and the U.S.
     well as the United Nations Guiding Principles                                   Department of State’s Assistance to Internally
     on Internal Displacement, in the areas of                                       Displaced Persons Policy to raise questions and begin
     disaster prevention and preparedness,                                           debates about the treatment of the Katrina Diaspora.
     emergency assistance and relief measures. In
     the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it should                                   Rethink equality and nondiscrimination, health,
     increase its efforts to ensure that the rights                                  participation in governmental decision making, and
     of poor people and in particular African                                        access to housing, health care, education, and
     Americans, are fully taken into consideration                                   economic security as fundamental human rights that
     in the reconstruction plans with regard to                                      cannot be denied to anyone. Demand that recovery
                                                                                     plans guarantee these basic human rights for all
     access to housing, education and health care.21

Further, the Human Rights Committee established
                                                                                     Petition federal, state, and local officials to implement
a one-year time period for the U.S. government to
                                                                                     the United Nations’ policy on internal displacement
report on its implementation of this
                                                                                     in all recovery efforts.

                                                                                          Human Rights and Mississippi Displaced Residents


 1. Bruce Katz et al., The Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program, Katrina Index Monthly Summary of Findings:
    February 1, 2006 (available online at http://www.brook.edu/metro/pubs/200602_ KatrinaIndexes.pdf).

 2. Larry Copeland, “In Mississippi, Katrina Recovery Gaining Steam,” USA Today, July 25, 2006 (available online at

 3. Ibid.

 4. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, American Red Cross Damage Assessments (available online at

 5. United Nations, Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, UN Document No. E/CN.4/1998/53/Add.2 (1998) (available online
    at http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/7/b/principles.htm).

 6. U.S. Department of State, Agency for International Development, Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons Policy, PD-ACA-558
    (2004) (available online at http://www.usaid.gov/policy/ads/200/200mbc. pdf )

 7. Ibid., p. 1.

 8. Ibid.

 9. Ibid. p. 2.

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid., p. 5.

13. Ibid.

14. Ibid.

15. See, for example, Associated Press, “Judge Orders Extension of FEMA Hotel Aid,” Houston Chronicle, December 12, 2005
    (available online at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/special/05/katrina/ 3518990.html); Eric Berger, “FEMA Extends Rent
    Vouchers,” Houston Chronicle, January 20, 2006 (available online

16. Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, S. 3721, 109th Congress (2005–2006).

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

17. United Nations Human Rights Committee, List of Issues to Be Taken Up in Connection with the Second and Third Periodic Reports of
    the United States of America, 86th Session, CCPR/C/US/Q/3 (April 26, 2006) (available online at
     http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G06/426/26/PDF/G0642626. pdf?OpenElement).

18. Ibid.

19. U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, U.S. Periodic Report on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:
     U.S. Responses to Written Questions from Human Rights Committee ( July 17, 2006) (available online at

20. Ibid. U.S. Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, U.S. Meeting with U.N. Human Rights Committee: U.S. Delegation Response
     to Oral Questions from the Members of the Committee ( July 18, 2006) (available online at

21. United Nations Office of the High Commissioner, Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties
    Under Article 40 of the Covenant, United States of America, 87th Session ( July 28, 2006), paragraph 26 (available online at
     http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/AdvanceDocs/CCPR.C. USA.CO.pdf).

22. Ibid. at paragraph 39.

The Potential Role for Philanthropy in Mississippi’s
Long-Term Recovery
By Marcus J. Littles, Project Director, Initiative on Regional and Community
Transformation, Rutgers University

Background and Context                                      Organized philanthropy is distinct from charitable
                                                            giving in that it is generally giving directed by
                                                            institutions that strategically target specific
When Hurricane Katrina ravaged much of the Gulf
                                                            community outcomes. Although Mississippi is this
Coast last year, it exposed an array of preexisting
                                                            country’s leader in “citizen generosity,” it has the
social ills and inequities. Mississippi, similar to the
                                                            fewest number of grant-making foundations in the
rest of these states, faces the difficulty of rebuilding
                                                            Southeast.2 Prior to the hurricane, the two
some communities that are polarized along race and
                                                            community foundations that service the areas in
class lines and rebuilding and making accessible and
                                                            Mississippi most affected by Katrina had endowed
affordable housing stock without the benefit of an
effective state fair housing policy. However, the                      Foundation Assets in the Southeast
recovery processes and efforts of each of the Gulf                           (Total = $51.6 billion)
States have also exposed or made apparent some of                                                              Alabama
the regions greatest assets.                                                        Virginia
                                                                                $5,767,406,000                       Arkansas

Charitable giving among individuals is a prominent                $3,935,787,000

part of the civic culture of the state of Mississippi. In      South Carolina
2005, Mississippi was ranked to be the most generous           $1,421,497,000

state in country.1 This ranking is based on average
adjusted gross incomes and the value of itemized
                                                               North Carolina
charitable donations reported to the Internal Revenue          $9,576,538,000
Service on 2003 tax returns. The people of
Mississippi were generous givers before Hurricane                Mississippi
Katrina, and over the year following the storm,                                                                      Georgia
Mississippians have continued to be openhanded.                           Louisiana
The culture of giving and generosity is a
characteristic of the people of Mississippi, who are        Figure 1. Foundation assets in the Southeast
undoubtedly the state’s most valuable asset.                          Source: The Foundation Center, The Foundation
                                                                      Yearbook 2005

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

assets combined that totaled just $16 million. Figure                                making through donor-advised funds have focused
13 shows that Mississippi has significantly fewer                                    on specific places, such as the Rebuild Ocean
foundation assets than any other state in the                                        Springs Fund.
Southeast region.
                                                                                     Many foundations and corporations headquartered in
Philanthropic Response                                                               other parts of the country partnered with local
                                                                                     community foundations to set up large donor-advised
Over the last year, the philanthropic responses to                                   funds. For instance, Wachovia Corporation donated
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by philanthropic entities                                $800,000 dollars to the Gulf Coast Community
have been significant. As of June 2006, 435                                          Foundation to establish the Wachovia Rebuilding
foundations and corporations had given                                               South Mississippi Fund to support long-term
approximately $577.1 million to hurricane recovery                                   rebuilding efforts in southern Mississippi.
and relief.4 Institutions headquartered in Mississippi
have received just 3.7% ($21.3 million) of the total                                 Other regional foundations and corporations in the
foundation and corporate gifts following Hurricane                                   southeastern region, such as Entergy and the
Katrina. Over half of these grant dollars ($11.8                                     Southern Partners Fund, have made significant
million) have been received by three institutions, the                               investments in the Gulf Coast, redirecting more
Mississippi Department of Education, the                                             grant dollars to the rebuilding and recovery in
Foundation for the Mid South (which re-granted the                                   Mississippi. Cisco has established the 21st Century
majority of these funds to nonprofits, faith                                         Initiative, which is a blueprint for modernizing
institutions, and individuals), and the Enterprise                                   schools for the twenty-first century. It has
Corporation of the Delta (which has re-granted a                                     committed to a $40 million investment, $20 million
portion of these funds to nonprofits).                                               of which is earmarked for the initial phase focusing
                                                                                     in Mississippi.
As Figure 1 illustrates, the institutional
philanthropic base in Mississippi is very limited in                                 The initial philanthropic response to hurricane relief
its financial capacity. However, in spite of the                                     and recovery has been significant. However, there are
limited pool of philanthropic assets among                                           still major concerns about the accessibility of
Mississippi’s local foundations and corporations,                                    philanthropic dollars for the long-term recovery of
these institutions have been extremely active and                                    the Gulf Coast, and specifically Mississippi. A
valuable to the recovery efforts during the year                                     Foundation Center survey found that 78.5%6 of grant
following Katrina. The Foundation for the Mid                                        makers indicated that they completed their giving to
South has received approximately $4.3 million                                        hurricane relief by January 2006 and do not
dollars in donations to contribute to rebuilding                                     anticipate allocating further funding to long-term
efforts in the Gulf Coast.5 FMS has allocated these                                  recovery. Another 15% indicated that they expected
resources as well as some of its own to                                              to have dispersed all of their disaster relief grant
supplementing the loss of income of Mississippi                                      funds within a year of the disaster.
nonprofits due to stalled operations. Some grant

                                                               The Potential Role for Philanthropy in Mississippi’s Long Term Recovery

Another major concern is the shift in grant recipients    in the long-term recovery of Mississippi?
that must occur in order for long-term recovery and
transformation to occur in Mississippi. Over the last     The philanthropic base in Mississippi is not robust,
year, approximately 60% of foundation and corporate       but the opportunity and potential for philanthropy to
disaster grant making to the Gulf Coast have been to      creatively and effectively play a role in building a
human service organizations,7 while other key areas       better, more equitable Mississippi are tremendous.
have received very little funding. The long-term          Philanthropy empowers nonprofits to play integral
recovery and transformation of the Gulf Coast, and        roles in society and communities that government
for Mississippi specifically, will need more than .3%     cannot. Government is not designed to invest in and
of grant dollars to go towards environmental issues,      support the advocacy institutions that hold the public
and more than .9% of grant dollars to go towards          sector accountable, but it is philanthropy that has
civil rights and public affairs. Organized                helped enable the Mississippi NAACP, Southern
philanthropy has the potential and the power, and         Echo, and the Mississippi Center for Workers’ Human
must be issued the charge to work with other sectors      Rights to fight for the rights and lives of low- and
to have strategic conversations to guide its              moderate-income Mississippians in the wake of the
investments to ameliorate community inequities. The       storm. Just following the hurricane, it was the
philanthropic response by local, regional, and national   Foundation for the Mid South that made available to
foundations has been considerable. However, it is         nonprofits funding to convene community members to
imperative to the long-term recovery of Mississippi       hear their concerns, assess their needs, and pass along
that corporations and foundations invest in social        urgent information.
justice, human rights, citizen participation, advocacy,
and the tools to envision, create, and re-create a more   Organized philanthropy has the opportunity and a
equitable social and economic infrastructure for          responsibility to play a key role in the long-term
Mississippians, and all Gulf Coast citizens.              recovery and transformation of Mississippi.
                                                          However, government leaders and philanthropic
The Opportunity for Organized Philanthropy                institutions in Mississippi must both realize the
                                                          potential power of philanthropy to do more than
The recent history of Mississippians’ willingness to      allocate grants. Philanthropy must act as a strategic
give allows one to come to the conclusion, or at least    community partner that can enable the development
believe, that the storm did not take the spirit of        of community leaders, amplify the voices of
generosity and compassion from Mississippi citizens.      Mississippi citizens, and build up a vibrant nonprofit
The charity exhibited by Mississippi citizens is even     sector that helps create a more democratic society.
more remarkable considering that the state ranks near
the bottom in the country in personal income (or          Recommendations
“ability to give”). Charitable giving by
Mississippians, and by people from all over the              • For public sector policy makers and
world, will continue. However, the question remains,           government leaders.
to what extent will organized philanthropy play a role       • A. Study examples of how the public sector

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

      has collaborated with foundations to meet                                        most other states in the Southeast.
      needs of local communities, and meet with                                      • B. Invest in building the capacity of
      state philanthropic leaders to examine                                           existing community foundations in the
      potential opportunities for philanthropy and                                     region to become more equipped and
      government to collaborate to strategically                                       prepared to address the inequities in
      target specific community outcomes.                                              opportunity that exist in the state along race
    • B. Propose legislation to amend tax laws to                                      and class lines.
      further incentivize individual donors to give
      to organized philanthropic institutions in

    • For Mississippi foundation and
    • A. Allocate grant investments to build
      nonprofit institutions’ capacity to advocate
      for stronger state public policy. For
      example, if a foundation is investing in
      developing housing in Mississippi for low-
      to moderate-income individuals, it is also
      important to allocate funding to housing
      advocacy institutions to develop strategies
      to create a stronger state fair housing law.
    • B. Mobilize state philanthropic
      organizations to create a state association of
      grant makers that offers a voice, a vision,
      and a venue to collaborate with the public
      and nonprofit sectors in meeting needs,
      protecting citizen rights, and holding
      government accountable.

    • For national foundations and corporations.
    • A. Invest in the development of new
      philanthropic institutions in Mississippi
      with the capacity and leadership to play a
      leadership role in transforming vulnerable
      communities in the state. The data
      indicated the lack of a critical mass of
      foundations in Mississippi compared to

                                                               The Potential Role for Philanthropy in Mississippi’s Long Term Recovery


1.   Generous Giving, www.generousgiving.org.

2.   Source: Foundation Center, Foundation Center Yearbook 2005 [http://foundationcenter.org].

3.   Source: Foundation Center, Foundation Center Yearbook 2005.

4.   Foundation Center, “Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes: Report on the Foundation
     and Corporate Response,” August 2006, p. 17.

5.   Source: Foundation for the Mid South, www.fndmidsouth.org.

6.   Foundation Center, “Giving in the Aftermath of the Gulf Coast Hurricanes: Report on the Foundation
     and Corporate Response,” August 2006, p. 13.

7.   Ibid., p. 27.

Author Bios

Roland V. Anglin is currently Executive Director of the      Juris Doctor from Duke University. Rebecca is a
Center for Race and Ethnicity, a university-wide center      Mississippi native with a long-standing commitment to
devoted to facilitating research and enriching education     public service. While in law school she was awarded a
on matters of race and ethnicity in contemporary life in     Stanback Fellowship and a Duke University School of
America, New Jersey, and the world. Anglin is also the       Law Substantial Pro Bono Contribution Award for
Executive Director of the Initiative for Regional and        public service. Before entering law school she served as
Community Transformation (IRCT) at the Edward J.             the Assistant Public Relations Director for the
Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy,              Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters in Jackson,
Rutgers University. The IRCT is a national initiative        Mississippi.
funded by philanthropy to carry out its unique mission
of supporting the transformation of marginalized
communities and people through the production of             Monique Harden is the co-director of Advocates for
relevant knowledge and strategies (both public policies      Environmental Human Rights (AEHR), a nonprofit,
and public and nonprofit management                          public interest law firm in New Orleans, Louisiana.
capacity–building strategies) that will help lead to their   She co-founded AEHR with attorney Nathalie
equitable inclusion in regional, national, and world         Walker in 2002. AEHR provides innovative human
economies. Dr. Anglin’s current projects include a           rights litigation and a broad range of public advocacy
national research effort looking at how to build             to defend the human right to a healthy environment.
capacity of community-based development                      On behalf of African American residents of
organizations in the United States. Roland V. Anglin         Mossville, Louisiana, Monique and AEHR legal staff
sits on the boards of numerous journals and                  filed the first ever human rights petition that seeks
professional associations.                                   reform of the United States environmental regulatory
                                                             system. The petition was filed with the Organization
                                                             of American States Inter-American Commission on
Rebecca Dixon is a Policy Analyst with Enterprise            Human Rights in March 2005. Monique also
Corporation of the Delta. She holds a Bachelor’s             coordinates international coalitions of community
degree in English, a Master’s degree in English, and a       organizations advocating for human rights and

                                                                                                          Author Bios

environmental justice. Monique has been advocating          experience has been with community-based and
for the human rights of displaced Gulf Coast                youth development organizations, philanthropic
residents.                                                  institutions, community development corporations,
                                                            and youth organizing groups. Littles is currently
                                                            working on projects for the Ford Foundation,
Derrick Johnson is State President of the Mississippi       Hindsight Consulting, OMG Center for
State Conference NAACP. Elected in 2004, he is the          Collaborative Learning, and Junior Achievement. He
youngest State President in the country. He earned          sits on several community and national boards.
his Juris Doctor degree from South Texas College of
Law in Houston, Texas, and a Bachelor of Arts
degree from Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS. He             Amy Liu is the Deputy Director and co-founder of
served as a Fellow with the Congressional Black             The Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy
Caucus Foundation in Washington, DC, while                  Program. The Brookings program produces research
working in the office of Congressman Bennie G.              that helps advance public understanding and policy
Thompson through the George Washington                      reforms in the areas of metropolitan growth,
University Graduate School of Political Management          economic competitiveness, and neighborhood and
Minority Fellowship Program. Mr. Johnson serves on          family wealth creation. Ms. Liu oversees the research,
the boards of the Mississippi ACLU, the Young               policy, and communications programs of the Metro
People’s Project, and numerous others boards. In the        Program. Ms. Liu also serves as a co-author and
aftermath of Katrina, he was appointed as Director of       editor of select Brookings publications, including
the NAACP Disaster Relief Center and served as              “Moving Beyond Sprawl: Toward a Broader
Vice-Chair of the Governor’s Commission for                 Metropolitan Agenda” which appeared in The
Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal.                          Brookings Review; she was the principal author of A
                                                            Region Divided: The State of Growth in Greater
                                                            Washington, D.C. She co-authored several papers
Marcus J. Littles is the founder and president of           related to the post-disaster rebuilding effort
Frontline Solutions Inc., a consulting firm that            including: “The Katrina Index: Tracking Variables of
provides professional and creative organizational           Post-Katrina Recovery,” “Housing Families Displaced
planning, staff and board recruitment, and research         by Katrina: A Review of the Federal Response to
services for community-based organizations,                 Date,” and “Federal Allocations in Response to
nonprofits, and philanthropic institutions. Littles is      Katrina, Rita and Wilma.”
also serving as a Project Director for the Initiative for
Regional and Community Transformation (IRCT) at
the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and              Jeffrey Lowe is Assistant Professor of Urban and
Public Policy, Rutgers University. Littles has a            Regional Planning at Florida State University. He is
background in nonprofit and philanthropic                   also Chair of Planning and the Black Community
management, program and organizational planning,            Division of the American Planning Association
development, and assessment. The majority of his            (APA). Lowe has engaged in planning and policy

Envisioning a Better Mississippi: Hurricane Katrina and Mississippi—One Year Later

development, and his current research about
community development focuses on community
development corporations, community
philanthropies, and university-community
partnerships. His book, Rebuilding Communities the
Public Trust Way: Community Foundation Assistance to
CDCs, 1980-2000, was recently published by
Lexington Press. Lowe served on the APA National
Hurricane Recovery Taskforce. In addition, his efforts
in collaboration with other scholars and practitioners
from across six disciplines resulted in the Principles
and Priorities for Rebuilding New Orleans: Joint
Statement by Black Social Scientists.

Ed Sivak is Director of Policy and Evaluation for the
Enterprise Corporation of the Delta. As Director, he
coordinates ECD’s policy efforts to advance
community reinvestment in under-served areas
throughout the Mid South. Sivak also manages the
evaluation activities for all of ECD’s programs. His
other responsibilities include the project management
of the Emerging Markets Partnership, a W. K.
Kellogg–funded initiative to expand economic
opportunities throughout the Mississippi Delta. He is
a member of the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer
Advisory Council and serves as Council Secretary for
BancorpSouth’s Community Reinvestment Advisory
Council. Prior to joining ECD, Sivak worked as a
graduate fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for
Public and Nonprofit Leadership and as an intern at
the Aspen Institute. He also coordinated programs at
L’Arche Irenicon, a nonprofit organization that
provides homes to adults with developmental
disabilities. Sivak holds a Master of Public Policy
degree from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute
and a Bachelor of Arts in History and English degree
from Marquette University.


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