Sunday, September 17, 2006

What if they don't want to come back?

From an AP story titled "Many poor Katrina evacuees plan to stay in Houston, survey says"

Despite obstacles such as high unemployment and no health insurance, nearly 70 percent of the poorest evacuees who fled New Orleans for Houston after Hurricane Katrina plan to stay, according to a Rice University survey.

The study, conducted in July and scheduled for release Friday, shows that almost 69 percent of the 1,081 refugees surveyed plan to remain in Houston. That figure rose 12 percentage points from a similar survey in October and 18 points from another survey last September.

Rice political science professors Rick Wilson and Robert Stein said in Friday's editions of the Houston Chronicle that their survey represents the views of up to 40,000 evacuees. About 150,000 evacuees are thought to be living in Houston.

The evacuees plan to stay despite difficult living conditions, according to the study. Less than 20 percent have jobs, and about 74 percent earn less than $15,000 a year. About half of the evacuees do not have health insurance.

"This means a couple of things," Wilson said. "One: They have little to go back to. Most of the group were renters, and the rental situation in New Orleans is pretty bleak. Second: Many of them had been working in the service industry, and that is still a little rocky there. The chances of finding something to go back to are pretty slim."

The growing cost of living in New Orleans might be contributing to the decision of so many to stay in Houston. Rent has tripled in some areas of the rebuilding city, said Jacqueline Jones of the Jeremiah Project, a New Orleans advocacy organization.
"Before Katrina, a house might rent for $700 or $800," she said. "Now you couldn't get into it for less than $1,500."


jbv's Competitive Edge 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep 'em...

7:07 PM  

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