Hurricane Katrina reimbursement

TEXT OF STORY

CHERYL GLASER: It's been almost 11 months since Hurricane Katrina hit the US Gulf Coast. And this week, the first federal checks should finally go out to people who lost their homes in the storm. As Marketplace's Scott Tong reports, homeowners will get up to $150,000 apiece.


SCOTT TONG: About $10 billion dollars is on the way. That's an unprecedented amount of housing recovery money.

Mississippi homeowners can use the money essentially as cash, They can rebuild on the same site, move to higher ground, even restock the 401K, whatever.

Which makes David Williams nervous. He's with Citizens Against Government Waste.

DAVID WILLIAMS: We saw this with the debit cards when they were first handed out after the hurricane hit. People were given $2,000 dollars in cash. And we saw what happened there. People used it for professional football tickets, they went to strip clubs, they used it for plasma screen TVs.

Louisiana is more old-school government. It wants to lure people back to the state, so homeowners have to spend their grants rebuilding in Louisiana.

If they don't, they get less money.

In Washington, I'm Scott Tong for Marketplace.

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

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