Half of Harvey Aid Seekers Rejected or In Limbo

A hundred days after Harvey, almost half the victims say they haven't gotten all the help they need.

Fully 42 percent of people surveyed in the hardest-hit Texas counties are still waiting for recovery resources.


---The top two worries: financial help and housing.

--The storm victims having the toughest time with recovery: lower-income and minority households.

The partners in the study hope that lessons learned from Harvey can speed up current recovery – as well build community and personal support networks and guide government and civic action in future disasters.

The results were shared with Newsradio 740 KTRH with Elena Marks, CEO of the Episcopal Health Foundation -- which conducted the study in partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Marks said people gave higher marks for local and state officials higher marks for hurricane recovery than they did for federal officials.

People in the hardest-hit counties of Texas were surveyed. The announcement of the results nearly coincided with the 100-day mark of Harvey recovery.

Here are more details on the findings, quoted directly from the survey:

--Two-thirds of residents of the 24 hard-hit Texas counties surveyed report being affected by Hurricane Harvey in terms of damage to their homes or vehicles, employment disruption, or income loss.

--Four in ten sustained damage to their home, nearly half experienced an interruption or loss of employment or some other loss of income, and one in five had a vehicle that was damaged. One in nine remain displaced from their homes at the time of the survey.

--Effects of Harvey were unevenly distributed by geography and demographics. Black and Hispanic residents, those with lower incomes, and those living in the Golden Triangle and Coastal areas were more likely to be affected by property damage or income loss than other residents.

--Health and mental health issues affected a smaller share of the population, but some residents report struggling to get needed health care, and focus groups suggest some may have unmet mental health needs. One in six affected residents say someone in their household has a health condition that is new or worse as a result of Harvey, and nearly two in ten feel that their own mental health is worse because of the storm. Among those with a new or worsened health condition, six in ten say they have skipped or postponed needed medical or dental care, cut back on prescriptions, or had problems getting mental health care since the storm.

--About half of those who have applied for disaster assistance from FEMA or the SBA say their application is still pending or has been denied, and many of those who were denied say they were not told the reason for the denial and were not given information on how to resubmit their application. About a quarter of those whose homes were damaged say they had any flood insurance. Four in ten of those who were affected say they expect none of their financial losses to be covered by insurance or other assistance.

--About half of affected residents say they have no savings whatsoever, and another quarter say that if they lost their job or other source of income, their savings would be exhausted in less than 6 months.

--Nearly half of affected residents say they are not getting the help they need to recover from the hurricane. Particular areas that stand out where residents say they need more help include applying for disaster assistance and repairing damage to their homes.

--Local, county, and state governments receive high marks from residents for their response to Hurricane Harvey so far.

--Residents are more mixed in their views of how the U.S. Congress has responded, and responses tilt negative when it comes to President Trump’s response. Four in ten affected residents are not confident relief funds will benefit those most in need.

--For the community overall, including for affected residents, the top priorities seen for the recovery focus on basic needs, including financial assistance and housing. Top priorities are getting financial assistance to those who need it, rebuilding destroyed homes, and making more affordable permanent and temporary housing available.

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