Tenants struggle after hurricanes

Tenants struggle after hurricanes

Renters face a lack of affordable housing after hurricanes as the number of available units decrease and prices increase, according to a new report from Ohio State University. The new research also found the number of eviction filings and evictions increase in the wake of these storms. Grist’s Siri Chilukuri explains tenants’ struggles after hurricanes and solutions that can alleviate hardship in the future as these storms become more common because of climate change. 

“There’s so many ways that renters are screwed,” said [project director at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University Carlos] Martín. But solutions to the problem do exist, and Martín suggests looking to the recent past to enact some of these policies. The most notable ones being eviction moratoriums and rent relief enacted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These policies, created to accommodate a global pandemic, have resonance as a way to protect renters from the financial burden of climate change, a crisis in which costs are already in the billions of dollars per year and are only expected to go up. 


Judge extends redistricting deadline 
The Louisiana Legislature is getting slightly more time in its last opportunity to draw fair congressional districts. State lawmakers faced a Jan. 15 deadline to redraw Louisiana’s federal political boundaries to more accurately reflect the state’s Black population. But U.S. District Chief Judge Shelly Dick granted an extension earlier this week to Jan. 30. The Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate’s Meghan Friedmann reports

Incoming House Speaker Phillip DeVillier said he appreciated the judge giving lawmakers more time to redraw the boundaries but said he doubted that they can complete the task by Jan. 30. … If the state does not act by Jan. 30, Dick will hold a trial on the merits of the current map beginning Feb. 5. The extended deadline means Gov. John Bel Edwards won’t force lawmakers to decide the issue before the year is out, his office confirmed Wednesday. Though [Gov.-elect Jeff] Landry vowed to call a special legislative session on the map soon after his Jan. 8 inauguration, Edwards said he would call a special session of his own if Dick didn’t grant extra time.  


Getting creative to address the child care crisis
The number of people missing work for child-care reasons rose to an all-time high last year. Since then, the cost of care has risen faster than inflation and the federal pandemic relief that propped up child care providers has expired. The lost working hours for parents are creating a financial toll on both family budgets and the larger economy. But city leaders in South Dakota are getting creative in how they’re addressing the child care crisis, including utilizing tax districts typically used for roads and sewers. The South Dakota Searchlight’s Makenzie Huber reports

“Child care is infrastructure,” [development director for the Lake Area Improvement Corporation Brookel Rollag said. “When you view it as a necessary means for people to go to work, that’s infrastructure.” … [tax increment financing] TIF districts provide upfront financing for public improvements and then capture the new and higher property taxes generated by a development project to pay off the financing. The public improvements are usually infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks, sewer and water lines. But the new TIF will pay for the construction of a child care center. It’s the first time a community in South Dakota has used TIF money for that purpose, Rollag said. 


Bidenomics and the guys in the bar
A prevailing narrative about the U.S. economy is that the wage gains that many workers experienced before the Covid-19 pandemic have eroded in the post-pandemic economy thanks to high inflation. The New York Times’ Paul Krugman reports that the real story is much more complicated – and distorted by the fact that millions of low-wage workers lost their jobs in 2020, only to be rehired once the economy reopened: 

The spurious wage surge of 2020 is gone, as is the wage stagnation of early 2021. It’s still true that wages lagged behind inflation in 2021 and 2022, but they have run well ahead of inflation this year. … In the end, it’s basically a fool’s errand to try and compare economic performance before and after the White House changed hands; there was just too much crazy stuff going on. What we can say, with considerable certainty, is that while prices have gone up a lot since the pandemic began, most workers’ wages have risen significantly more.


Number of the Day
221 – The number of miles traveled in an electric vehicle per 1,000 residents in Red River Parish on a typical weekday in the second quarter of 2023. Red River Parish had the most electric miles traveled in Louisiana. For comparison, Marin County, Calif., had the most electric miles traveled in the nation, at 1,942. (Source: Replica via Axios)