Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast a year ago (August 26, 2017). Now, a year later, the Houston Chronicle is taking a long look back at the storm's record-setting impact, and also a close-up look at Harvey's enduring effects (see: "Harvey One Year Later," by Chronicle staff).
The storm imposed huge costs on Houston and the region. One aspect of the disaster's toll is local, and personal: the effect on the area's homelessness problem. The Chronicle zeroed in on that impact here (see: "Homeless after Harvey: For some, the historic flooding in Houston washed away shelter and security," by Alyson Ward).
"Homelessness in the Houston area increased substantially this year, according to the Coalition for the Homeless' annual homeless count and survey, released in May," the paper reported. "The flood largely is to blame for that increase, said Eva Thibaudeau-Graczyk, the coalition's director of programs. Harvey was 'a major, major system disrupter,' she said."
"For several years, the homeless population across Harris, Fort Bend and Montgomery counties had been on a steady decline," the paper reported. "The 2018 tally, however, turned up 4,143 homeless people across the three counties — 2,529 in shelters and 1,614 unsheltered, based on a point-in-time count in January. Last year's count was 3,605. When volunteers interviewed the 1,614 unsheltered homeless, 18 percent said they were on the streets because of Harvey, regardless of whether it was their first time to be homeless."
From top to bottom, the storm shook up Houston's housing market. "Parts of Meyerland, Braes Heights and Bellaire, along with parts of west Houston that flooded from the Addicks and Barker reservoir releases, are now a jumble of overgrown lots and empty homes," the Chronicle reported (see: "Housing market in uneven recovery one year after Harvey", by Nancy Sarnoff). "Those who can afford it are paying six figures to elevate their houses. Builders are starting from scratch on lots they purchased at big discounts. Thousands of flooded homes have been converted into rentals."