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Mortgage delinquency rates soar in Gulf region

Many hurricane victims are receiving rental assistance

The latest "Katrina Index," a measure of economic conditions and reconstruction activity in storm-damaged Gulf Coast communities, notes that about 750,000 households remain displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and Louisiana has lost more than 100,000 people in its labor force. Created by the Brookings Institute, a nonprofit public policy group, the index launched in December. "Demand for essential services in New Orleans continues to overwhelm the supply," according to a Brookings announcement about the February index. "Only 32 percent of the city's hospitals are open, and waits for emergency room visits have exceeded six hours. Over 9,000 children have now enrolled in the city's schools but only 15 percent have reopened and some of those are reporting difficulty accommodating demand. Electricity has been restored to about 95 percent of former customers, but power is only being used by 30-35 percent of the former customers, as many customers have either not returned or wait for the city to...

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