A new federal program will rely on private lenders to disburse disaster relief funds to be repaid, with interest, by American taxpayers, the New York Times reports. The new program means taxpayers will effectively pay private lenders to do work traditionally done by the federal government, but it could also mean relief gets to victims sooner. “Disaster recovery is not equitable in this country,” Priscilla Almodovar, head of Enterprise Community Partners, a Washington-based housing nonprofit. “Renters are the hardest hit.” It takes HUD an average of 20 months to begin distributing recovery funds after floods, wildfires, and disasters, which are becoming more intense  and/or more frequent due to climate change, according to the Urban Institute. (New York Times $)