Hurricane Harvey affected neighborhoods all over Houston: rich and poor, black and white – urban and suburban.
However, a recent report shows low-income victims of Harvey face a harder time in their recovery process, while higher-income families continue to take on natural disasters with ease.
The NBC News report showed renters and homeowners without flood insurance could be out on the streets at this very second; families already living paycheck to paycheck prior to the storm may be facing struggles to pay their bills, keep their jobs or cover their rent or mortgage payments.
Meanwhile, wealthy homeowners are often able to finance their families’ recovery efforts out of their own pockets.
The report states many middle-class homeowners who did not possess flood insurance are still living in their damaged homes; those with a steady income are often forced to choose between keeping up the mortgage payments or paying for repairs, as they sometimes do not have enough income to do both.
Thanks to these studied realities, Harvey’s aftermath highlights the wealth gap in Houston:
A Rice University report stated the city is becoming “increasingly economically polarized,” as the job market increasingly separates out into high-skill/high-income and low-skill/low-income jobs.
For those who lost the most from the storm, the need for funds to cover living expenses, transportation and prescription medications is reportedly taking precedence over bottled water, canned food and toiletries.
Distribution centers are reportedly still being inundated with donations of hard goods, but operation coordinators say most families are in desperate need of cash.
Officials from disaster relief organizations, such as the American Red Cross, for example, said they prefer cash donations, as handling large quantities of hard goods can be too cumbersome; they say cash is also easy to account for and can be used for any purpose, unlike some gift cards donated to flood victims.
If you need or would like to help in Houston, read more here.