It seems like years have gone by since Hurricane Harvey devastated the Gulf coast region. In a couple of a weeks, it will be about three months since Harvey first made landfall in Texas. In the that time span, the Houston Astros won the World Series and the Houston Texans football dreams turned into a nightmare when their star Rookie quarterback was sidelined for the remainder of the season.
As the City of Houston continues to recover from the impact left in the aftermath of Harvey, it has released data regarding recovery efforts. Mayor Sylvester Turner said, “Different parts of the city suffered differently, yet we leave no neighborhood behind as the recovery progresses one day at time.” While I recommend that you check out the HoustonRecovers.org official website, there is Damage data that I found interesting; on the surface it looks like Harvey did not discriminate against anyone in Houston. In fact, the whole city seems to have been impacted. But, on further inspection, perhaps that is not the case.
The top-five areas to have reported the worst damage in Houston were 1) Kingwood; 2) Memorial; 3) East Houston; 4) Bellaire/Meyerland; and 5) South Houston. Now, let’s dig a little deeper into those areas and analyze the available date. The darker the red for City Assessment, the more damage was sustained while the darker the blue (for Poverty Levels) the higher the amount of people who live below the poverty level. Hover your mouse over the image to compare City Assessment versus Poverty Levels.
1. Kingwood – Ramblewood/Moonshine Hill, just south of West Fork San Jacinto River, was the hardest hit neighborhood in this area. 683 structures sustained damage, yet only 13.15% of people in this area live below the poverty level. Overall, close to 3,000 structures sustained damage in the Kingwood area due to rivers that feed into Lake Houston.
2. Memorial – The neighborhood just south of Memorial Drive, but north of the Buffalo Bayou was the hardest hit area. 485 structures sustained damage, yet less than 0.46% of people in this area live below the poverty level.
3. East Houston – Settegast, just south of Tidwell Road, was the hardest hit neighborhood in this area. 1,368 structures near Halls Bayou sustained damage; up to 35% of people in this area live below the poverty level. 1,288 structures in Kashmere Gardens, just south of Huntington Bayou, also sustained damage. Close to 40% of people in this area live below the poverty level. Kashmere Gardens is one of the first areas inside the loop that sustained severe damage.
4. Bellaire/Meyerland – Over 1,500 structures sustained damage in the Bellaire area; this was the second area inside the loop affected by Harvey. The difference with Kashmere Gardens is that only 0.33% of people live below the poverty level in this area. In the Meyerland area, homes that hug the Brays Bayou paid the cost. Close to 4,000 structures sustained damage in this area. This should not be a surprise since the Meyerland area was featured at great lengths during hurricane coverage. Less than 5% of people live below the poverty but, that number peaks close to 20% as you move west on North Braeswood Boulevard as you approach Hillcroft Avenue.
5. South Houston – Now this has to be the most interesting area because the damage was scattered in what seems like random pockets, but what is more interesting is that a major body of water such as a river or bayou cannot be linked to most of the damage. For example, over 1,500 structures sustained damage in the Edgebrook neighborhood; people who live below the poverty level peak at close to 30% as you move south on I-45. 793 structures in the Skyscraper Shadows neighborhood sustained damage while 18.84% of people live below the poverty level in this area. Finally, over 1,800 structures in the neighborhood located between Scarsdale Boulevard and Dixie Farm Road most likely sustained damage due to Turkey Creek. People that live below the poverty level in this area peak at 19.59% for this neighborhood just east of I-45.
While it looks like Harvey did not seem to discriminate based on income level, the hurricane unleashed more damage on outer loopers than the inner loopers. The areas that seemed to have suffered the most damage appear to be Kingwood and Bellaire/Meyerland. Based on Debris Removal data, these areas have reported the most activity as well. Only time will tell if recovery efforts prove to be successful.