Obstacles to Housing Recovery for Socially Vulnerable Populations

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 10:45 AM
Room: Booth 48
Oral Presentation
Shannon VAN ZANDT , Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Walter Gillis PEACOCK , Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Wesley HIGHFIELD , Texas A&M University-Galveston
Sara HAMIDEH , Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Notions of resilience indicate that more resilient communities will experience less severe shocks to systems and will return to stasis more rapidly than less resilient communities.  Concepts of social vulnerability suggest that different populations within communities have varying capacities to anticipate, resist, absorb, and recover from shocks.  Consequently, different populations may be expected to manifest different recovery trajectories, both in terms of the magnitude of the shock as well as the rate of return to stasis.  The literature suggests differences in recovery trajectories may lead to long-term redevelopment, displacement, and demographic change in the affected communities.

 We analyze these variations using longitudinal household survey data, coupled with damage assessment and tax appraisal data from Galveston, Texas collected since Hurricane Ike, which struck in September 2008, causing one of the costliest disasters and most widespread power outage in U.S. history.   Previous analyses indicate substantial differences in the severity of damage incurred by socially vulnerable populations immediately after the hurricane, as well as differences in the rates of recovery of housing values. 

 Here, we assess the relationship between the recovery of housing values and actions taken by occupants and owners. Panel models of housing recovery are enhanced with household survey data regarding occupant characteristics, financial resources, and repair behavior. These analyses build on our previous findings to better understand the obstacles to recovery for socially vulnerable populations. Understanding the vulnerability of a community to social and physical impacts from disasters helps local governments and planners, as well as the agencies that aid them, to support the development of resilient communities that are able to respond effectively to hazard events and recover quickly after impact.