Koslov on New Approach to Disaster Relief

Assistant Professor of Urban Planning Liz Koslov spoke to the New York Times about a new private lending program designed to fund disaster recovery and return victims to their homes. Federal aid programs can take years to get money to victims of natural disasters, including floods, wildfires and other catastrophes, which are becoming more frequent and severe as a result of climate change. Renters, who are more likely than homeowners to be people or color or have low incomes, often must wait even longer for federal aid. The new program, funded by financial giant Morgan Stanley and the housing nonprofit Enterprise, will pay owners of apartment buildings to rebuild without waiting for federal funds; the loans will be repaid by taxpayers, with interest. The new lending arrangement “responds to a real need,” Koslov said. However, she noted that is problematic as it falls into a broader trend of private companies that profit from disasters.

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