HURRICANE HARVEY'S AFTERMATH: PRIORITIZING HOUSTON'S MOST VULNERABLE SURVIVORS
2018 - 19
When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in August of 2017, it was the biggest and most expensive in a series of disasters that had hit the city in the previous five years. While the storm affected all areas of the city, it's the lowest-income residents and marginalized communities that have the hardest time recovering. The new policy office in the Housing & Community Development Department undertook several innovative efforts to understand the true impact of the storm on the most vulnerable residents, including a large community engagement effort in partnership with local non-profits; a big data analysis of disaster impact according to social vulnerability, and a study of naturally occurring affordable housing in Houston. These policy documents helped make the case to the federal government that Houston should control its own recovery, with a focus on prioritizing households that usually get left behind.