Replacing Public Housing Units Destroyed by Hurricane Ike

Location Galveston Texas
Organization The Georgia Health Policy Center and Department of Sociology at Georgia State University, Center to Eliminate Health Disparities University of Texas Medical Branch

In 2008, Hurricane Ike brought disaster to Galveston, Texas, destroying over 500 public housing units and displacing residents, many of whom already faced a disproportionate burden of poor health determinants and outcomes such as lack of access to medical care and exercise opportunities, and higher rates of asthma, high blood pressure, and other conditions. Local legislators and housing authority members disagreed over whether—and where—to rebuild the units that had previously been viewed as perpetuating poverty for residents. In this context, researchers from the Georgia Health Policy Center, in collaboration with the Center to Eliminate Health Disparities at the University of Texas Medical Branch, conducted an HIA to investigate how a proposed “scattered-site” public housing approach, which would distribute individual units through Galveston, could affect the community.. The HIA brought community stakeholders together and grew support for what had previously been a contentious issue; decision-makers ultimately modified selection, inspection, and evaluation processes based on the HIA recommendations. For Galveston’s public housing residents, the new scattered-site construction and mixed-income developments should provide a chance to return home and rebuild the lives and families displaced by the storm.

The HIA report was adopted by the Texas General Land Office as a reference document for developers.

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At A Glance
  • Status:
    Completed
  • Publication date:
    2014, April
  • Decision-making levels:
    Local
  • Sectors:
    Housing, Planning and zoning
  • Additional topic areas:
    Siting, Land-use planning
  • Drivers of health:
    Safe, affordable, and healthy housing, Safe and affordable parks and recreational facilities, Education, Access to services/medical care, Access to healthy food, Alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, Safe street infrastructure, Clean air and water, Safe and affordable public transit
  • Affected populations:
    Homeless
  • Community types:
    Urban
  • Research methods:
    Quantitative research, Literature review, Primary research, Qualitative research
  • Funding source:
    Health Impact Project grantee