In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Congress passed one disaster recovery package with a special mission in mind. The bill was designed specifically to encourage developers to rebuild or create new affordable rental housing in the Gulf Coast. The plan worked: The 2005 act spurred millions of dollars in new investment in the recovery, creating or restoring tens of thousands of housing units for low-income families.
Congress hasn’t passed another similar disaster recovery bill since. Despite the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy, efforts to put together the right grab-bag of tax incentives and community grants to rebuild affordably failed to materialize.