4 Harvey-hit neighborhoods that need the most help rebuilding
Of the 39 counties included in the Hurricane Harvey presidential-declared disaster areas, property damage varied across the different neighborhoods, with some experiencing much heavier destruction.
Significant property damage, where the majority of buildings were destroyed or showed signs of major damage, was concentrated to 2% of neighborhoods, or 26 tracts, according to research conducted by SP Group.
Bryants Marsh, Plum Grove, Sheldon-Channelview and Wharton-Hungerford were among the Texas neighborhoods hit hardest by Harvey, and represent the areas in most need of federal, state and local assistance for property repair and rehabilitation costs, such as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Grant Assistance Disaster Recovery.
These areas were considered most in distress in terms of higher unemployment and poverty, and lower income and educational attainment levels.
Harvey flooded low-, middle- and high-income areas, so communities with better resources, such as Houston, will likely recover more quickly overall. The same can't be said for lower-income families.
"The storm will have a long-lasting impact on low-income families, particularly new homeowners who were just beginning to build home equity or those who were not protected with flood insurance and won't have the financial means to rebuild or repair. Homeowners face rebuilding costs and, in many instances, the cost of temporary relocation," according to the Urban Institute.
Flood insurance may also strengthen the burden on lower-income households, as properties not previously listed in the floodplain are deemed high-risk, adding more to monthly bills and paving the way for possible mortgage delinquencies.
Since Harvey didn't just affect low-income areas, its neighborhoods in most need of assistance are not confined to a specific region.
"Unlike other research that was done on Katrina, where you could see that where people were hardest hit there were concentrations of poverty and distress, from Harvey, it was more spread out, and this may be due to how Texas plans its land use ultimately," Alyssa Spina, manager of research and evaluation at SP Group, said.
Tracts considered in most distress were above the 75th percentile of SP Group's Neighborhood Distress Index.