Storm Shelters

More than 270,000 evacuees ended up in shelters after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. A poll of 680 randomly selected evacuees conducted in Houston, Texas, shelters in September 2005 reveals a cross section of America’s most vulnerable citizens. “A year later,” Bill Quigley, a civil and human rights lawyer at Loyola University New Orleans School of Law, told Sojourners, “we have learned that the poor and disabled who were left behind in the evacuation of New Orleans have again been left behind in the rebuilding.” Among those interviewed:

  • 93 percent were African American, 5 percent were white, and 4 percent Latino.
  • 79 percent had no friends or relatives they could move in with until they were “back on their feet.”
  • 74 percent had annual household incomes of $30,000 or less, and, for 77 percent, high school was the highest educational level achieved.
  • 72 percent had no property insurance to cover their losses, 68 percent had no bank account, and 52 percent had no health insurance.
  • 64 percent were renters, 33 percent were homeowners, and 3 percent lived in a care facility.

Source: “Survey of Hurricane Katrina Evacuees,” by The Washington Post/Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health.

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