Disaster Recovery is an issue that is linked to both fair housing and civil rights at its core. Historically, communities of color and low-income communities have faced institutional hurdles to recover economically, have been located in areas that are less safeguarded from natural disasters, and have been routinely ignored by systems designed to help wealthier, whiter communities first and with more favor. Below is Texas Housers work to correct these issues and build a future where Disaster Recovery works for all.
The history of disaster recovery often shows that communities of color and low-income households are less assisted and heard. Rectifying this is at the core of Texas Housers’ disaster recovery work. We have found that the most successful method of creating change in disaster recovery comes by partnering beside organizations who are doing the work and elevating their needs.
This has come by way of joint complaints and lawsuits alongside organizations such as the Northeast Action Collective in the discrimination they faced in disbursement of CDGB-MIT funding. Despite facing far more danger, the communities that NAC represents received zero dollars to mitigate future storms and fortify their neighborhoods. Our joint complaint to HUD addresses this exact issue.
Our work also includes prevention when it comes to disaster recovery, more specifically that neighborhoods have equity in drainage. Many low-income neighborhoods and communities of color do not have proper drainage systems, meaning that a simple rainstorm can make for a disastrous flood. We have fought to fix this alongside several community groups demanding change.
Utilizing people power also is a tenet of our work with the Harvey Forgotten Survivor Caucus, many of whom still are awaiting funds and work to complete their homes. Our work in disaster recovery also includes our partners at the Coalition for Environment, Equity, and Resilience — of which we are a member — with measures in order to build a safer world for all Houstonians, not simply those neighborhoods who have the means to do so.
Disaster recovery is perhaps one of our longest-standing issues, including projects like RAPIDO and with weather events dating back 20 years, but as we look forward to the future, we will continue to ensure that all communities are safeguarded from events fairly and with equity in mind.