RDN conducted multiple Housing Requirements Assessments (HRAs) for the US Navy in the Gulf Coast Region to evaluate the availability of community housing for both accompanied and unaccompanied personnel in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Katrina struck the Gulf Coast on 28 August 2005 causing widespread destruction and loss of life. Military and civilian personnel were evacuated from the bases prior to the storm, but many lost use of their homes in the neighboring communities due to the storm. The US Navy had to make decisions regarding the provision of temporary and permanent housing, continuation of family separation policies, and possible relocation of missions in order to provide for the continued well-being and quality of life of military personnel stationed in the region. The purpose of our analyses were to present projections of community housing availability and government-provided housing requirements to assist the US Navy in making the best possible decisions for housing its personnel.
The studies presented revised housing reconstruction rates as well as estimates of the number of people expected to relocate back to the area. Based upon prior corporate experience in the Pensacola area after Hurricane Ivan (2004), it was assumed a significant portion of units that were largely or totally destroyed would require two to three years to be rebuilt. The rate of reconstruction in the area was subject to uncertainty and depended to a large degree on the availability of labor and capital for reconstruction efforts. Due to the severity of Katrina, this analysis projected that the reconstruction of units that were largely or totally destroyed would not be complete within the five-year planning horizon of the study, and units severely damaged but repairable would require approximately three years for repairs. In addition to projections on the quality and condition of the local housing stock, RDN analysts forecasted population, employment, and the extent of effect on local economic sectors over a five-year planning horizon.