LESSONS LEARNED AFTER DISASTER? EMERGENCY SHELTER AND HOUSING POLICY AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA
Free (open access)
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TANYA BUHLER CORBIN
There is a commonly held assumption that governmental leaders “learn lessons” after disasters. The “lessons learned” narrative was particularly pervasive after Hurricane Katrina, which was widely understood as a failure in governmental preparedness and response. If governmental leaders learned lessons after disaster, we would expect to find changes in policies that reflect these lessons. This study examines the changes in emergency shelter planning and housing policy at the federal level after Hurricane Katrina. To determine whether policy learning occurred, I employ content analysis to identify the emergency shelter and post-disaster housing recommendations outlined in the government investigative reports from the congressional and executive branches. I compare the recommendations in the investigative committee reports with the legislative changes enacted in the Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006. Results indicate that the recommendations and findings of the congressional and executive branch investigations were incorporated into legislative changes. Thus, there is evidence that policy learning occurred in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
policy change, policy learning, disaster, housing, Hurricane Katrina, Congress, legislation