From yesterday's American Progress Report:
As the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, the Brookings Institution has released a report examining the state of recovery and rebuilding in New Orleans. The findings paint a grim picture. While the demolition of old houses has progressed, new housing is lagging because "rent prices in the region have increased by 39 percent over the year and home sale prices have spiked in suburban parishes." Exacerbating the problem is the fact that those in search of housing are receiving little assistance from the federal government. Roughly 100,000 people have applied for the "Road Home" housing-aid program, but they still have not received government grants and may have to wait "more than two years before the last of the money is handed out." A laundry list of other problems remain. There is "a lack of public transportation, child-care services and hospitals." Gas and electricity are available only to "41 and 60 percent of the pre-Katrina customer base, respectively." Even with the loss of 190,000 workers, the unemployment level in New Orleans has reached 7.2 percent, "higher than last August." For the region's 278,000 workers who have been displaced by the storm, finding a job is proving even more difficult, with nearly one in four unemployed.