Published: Sept. 20, 2020

A recent article on the website Mother Jones and a piece published by the Center for Public Integrity address the challenges survivors of natural disasters from low-income areas face. And specifically when attempting to access fedral relief resources. Both pieces cite a study published by Leeds' Professors Emily Gallagher and Stephen Billings that document inequalities in disaster relief support after Hurrican Harvey in Houston. For example, their research found inequalities for lower-income residents in access to federal disaster assistance and loans accompanied by a significant rise in their bankruptcy rates.

The article from Mother Jones on ineqaulities in disaster relief here and the article published by the Center for Public Integrity and through the Texas Tribune titled "Disasters are driving a mental health crisis" offers that "In one study, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that bankruptcy rates in Houston after Harvey rose nearly 30 percent for flooded low-income households while remaining flat—or even declining—for flooded higher-income households. Emily Gallagher, a finance professor who co-authored the study, attributed that to the fact that those same low-income areas — as well as majority Black and Hispanic neighborhoods — were also less likely to secure federal disaster aid."

Read the full study "Let the Rich Be Flooded: The Unequal Impact of Hurricane Harvey on Household Debt" here.

Additional co-author of this study - Lowell Ricketts of the Federal Reserve Banks of St. Louis.