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Houstonians Adrift in Their City, Trying to Call Somewhere Home

From couch surfing, breaking into an abandoned church, entering an overcrowded and overpopulated shelter, sleeping in a car, and to renting out a hotel room hundreds of miles away from your own home, Hurricane Harvey has forced thousands of people out of their homes in one way or another.

Whether it be through flooding the entire house or simply tearing it down, the hurricane has claimed many victims. The well prepared, well informed, and healthy families evacuated early; however, many of the elderly and sick were left behind and had to deal with the hurricane.

The article, “Houstonians Adrift in Their City, Trying to Call Somewhere Home,” written by Richard Fausset and published in the New York Times on September 11, 2017, highlights the stories of five disadvantaged people left behind in Houston during Hurricane Harvey.

One woman, Ms. Gonzales, attempted to “see a lady from the Federal Emergency Management Agency about a next place to live, but she was confused by the requirements, and gave up.” In addition, two brothers were forced to stay in their moldy apartment after they visited the shelter. Ricky knew that his apartment was “no place to stay, that it cannot be healthy to breathe in here, but he and his brother and his brother’s wife…[had] no other place to go. The one night they spent in a shelter — ‘people half-crazy going around’ — seemed even more dangerous.”

It is unacceptable how some of these families were treated or what they had to endure during this time. The shelter was extremely overcrowded and uninhabitable. Homeless and with a sick mother, Ms Gonzales was dealt bureaucracy in response for her plea for help. In the future, this disaster could have been handled better. There could have been more designated shelters in better conditions. The Federal Emergency Management Agency could have had an easier and more efficient process.

The government has a social responsibility to protect their citizens in times like this. How do you guys think the crisis should have been handled and what improvements could they have made?




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