GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — A new report is using Galveston’s past mistakes as an example of what cities should not do when rebuilding housing after Hurricane Harvey.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released a report this month called “Seizing the Opportunity for Equitable and Inclusive Redevelopment,” the Galveston County Daily News reported .
Slow rebuilding of public housing after Hurricane Ike in 2008 has put Galveston at a disadvantage when it comes to economic growth in the greater Houston area, according to the report. It noted that the city has replaced only about half the nearly 570 public housing units torn down after the storm a decade later.
“The result of this inaction is a community that is less economically diverse and a city that is likely to face serious workforce challenges in the coming years as it seeks to compete in one of the fastest-growing regions in the nation,” the report stated.
Data from the report show that people in lower-income groups have yet to return to the island, and as rents and property values increase, they could have more trouble living there.
“If individuals who fill lower-wage jobs are unable to find adequate housing on the island, they are likely to seek housing and employment opportunities elsewhere,” the report stated. “Ultimately, this will result in fewer workers on the island who can fill the service jobs that are vital to supporting a thriving tourist industry.”
Galveston Mayor Jim Yarbrough said he didn’t know about the report as of Thursday. But he agreed that elderly and low-income residents forced out by Ike have probably been priced out from returning.
The city is now working to increase affordable housing, he said.
The report was written by Kevin Dancy, an attorney in the Federal Reserve Bank’s Community Development Department. Dancy hopes communities recovering from Harvey will use the report and emphasize finding nonprofit groups and businesses that will help preserve low- and middle-income populations.
Information from: The Galveston County Daily News, http://www.galvnews.com