A Year After Hurricane Harvey, Many Struggling to Recover

A Year After Hurricane Harvey, Many Struggling to Recover

A year after Hurricane Harvey brought devastation to the Texas Gulf Coast, 30 percent of residents affected by the storm say their lives remain disrupted, while 42 percent say they are not getting the help they need, a survey by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Episcopal Health Foundation finds.

Based on a survey of 1,651 residents in twenty-four Texas counties, the report, One Year After the Storm: Texas Gulf Coast Residents' Views and Experiences With Hurricane Harvey Recovery (53 pages, PDF), found that among the 58 percent of respondents who reported property damage or income loss due to Harvey, seven in ten said their lives were largely or almost back to normal, up from 56 percent three months after the storm. However, 20 percent of all residents in the area experienced severe damage to their homes, and 8 percent remained displaced — with both groups reporting high rates of ongoing life disruption.

The survey also found that 42 percent of affected residents said they were not getting the help they need — essentially unchanged from the percentage recorded three months after the storm — including 60 percent of affected residents who are African American, 50 percent of those living in the hard-hit Golden Triangle area (between the cities of Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange), and 50 percent of those with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. The top areas of need included help in applying for financial assistance (28 percent), navigating the different systems for receiving aid (27 percent), home damage repairs (24 percent), getting needed medical care for family members (16 percent), obtaining legal assistance (15 percent), and finding affordable housing (14 percent). In addition, 31 percent of affected residents reported negative storm-related effects on their mental health, while 9 percent said they needed help in getting mental health care for family members.

"This survey shows how much Harvey continues to haunt many across coastal Texas, with significant shares reporting ongoing challenges with their housing, finances, and health," said Kaiser Family Foundation president and CEO Drew Altman. "Residents' top priorities include both preparing for future storms and providing financial assistance and help rebuilding homes for those who need it."

"One year later, many of those with the fewest resources are still struggling to bounce back from Harvey's punch," said Episcopal Health Foundation president and CEO Elena Marks. "This kind of information is crucial to letting government and other recovery groups know what Texans still need for a long-term comeback."