Public Housing on the Periphery: Vulnerable Residents and Depleted Resilience Reserves post-Hurricane Sandy
- 25 Downloads
Hurricane Sandy was the greatest natural disaster to ever impact public housing residents in New York City. It affected approximately 80,000 residents in 400 buildings in 33 developments throughout the city. The storm left residents without power, heat, or running water, yet many chose not to evacuate. This qualitative study was conducted to understand the impact of Sandy among this socially, physically, and geographically vulnerable population. It is the first known study to examine the impact of disasters in high-rise, high-density public housing as a unique risk environment. Findings demonstrate (1) broad impacts to homes, health and access to resources, (2) complex evacuation decision-making, (3) varied sources of support in the response and recovery phases, and (4) lessons learned in preparedness. Results are contextualized within an original conceptual framework—“resilience reserve”—that explains the phenomenon of delayed recovery stemming from enactments of resilience to manage chronic hardship leaving vulnerable populations without the requisite capacity to take protective action when facing acute adversity. We discuss recommendations to establish and replenish the resilience reserve that include personal, institutional, and structural facets.
KeywordsResilience Public housing Health Disaster preparedness Natural disasters Poverty Vulnerable populations
The authors wish to express their profound gratitude to Ausama Abdelhadi for providing editorial comment and refining the presentation of ideas in this manuscript. We also wish to acknowledge Ogonnaya Dotson-Newman, formerly at WE ACT for helping to organize the data collection efforts and Thomas Matte, formerly of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY USA for serving as an adviser to the project. We also wish to thank Chris Vacchio for his collaboration on the map featured in this article. This project was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (Award HITEP130009) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (Award P30ES009089).
- 5.Klinenberg E. Heat wave: a social autopsy of disaster in Chicago. University of Chicago Press; 2015.Google Scholar
- 6.New York City Housing Authority. NYCHA 2017 Fact Sheet 2017; https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nycha/downloads/pdf/factsheet.pdf. Accessed August 4, 2017.
- 7.Parton HB, Greene R, Flatley AM, Viswanathan N, Wilensky L, Berman J, et al. Health of Older Adults in New York City Public Housing: part 1, findings from the New York City Housing Authority senior survey. Care Management Journals. 2012;13(3):134.Google Scholar
- 8.New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Recovery to Resiliency: NYCHA’s Superstorm Sandy Recovery Program Fact Sheet. 2017; https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nycha/downloads/pdf/nycha-sandy-factsheet.pdf. Accessed August 15, 2017.
- 9.New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Recovery to Resiliency Report. New York: NYCHA; 2015. http://www1.nyc.gov/html/onenyc/index.html. Accessed July 26, 2018.
- 11.New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Performance Tracking and Analytics Department. Development Data Book 2013. 2013; http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nycha/downloads/pdf/pdb2013.pdf. Accessed September 20, 2017.
- 12.Brown S, Parton H, Driver C, Norman C. Evacuation during Hurricane Sandy: data from a rapid community assessment. PLoS Curr 2016;8.Google Scholar
- 14.United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). What climate change means for New York. 2016; https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-09/documents/climate-change-ny.pdf. Accessed August 3, 2017.
- 16.Cong Z, Nejat A, Liang D. The effect of emotional closeness and exchanges of support among family members on residents’ positive and negative psychological responses after Hurricane Sandy. PLoS Curr 2016;8.Google Scholar
- 25.The City of New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. A Stronger, More Resilient New York. 2013. https://www.nycedc.com/resource/stronger-more-resilient-new-york. Accessed July 26, 2018.
- 26.Zaineb M. Nor’easter ‘Athena’ bombards areas hardest hit by Sandy. Mother Jones November 7, 2012. http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/11/noreaster-slams-nyc-nj/. Accessed September 4, 2017.
- 27.Hernández D. Energy insecurity: a framework for understanding energy, the built environment, and health among vulnerable populations in the context of climate change. Am J Public Health. 2013;103(4): e32–e34.Google Scholar
- 33.Petkova EP, Beedasy J, Oh EJ, et al. Long-term recovery from Hurricane Sandy: evidence from a survey in New York City. Disaster Med Public Health Prep 2017:1–4.Google Scholar
- 34.Flanagan B, Gregory E, Hallisey E, Heitgerd J, Lewis B. A social vulnerability index for disaster management. J Homel Secur Emerg Vol 82011.Google Scholar
- 35.Tierney K, Gutmann A. Social Inequality, Hazards, and Disasters. On Risk and Disaster: University of Pennsylvania Press; 2006:109–128.Google Scholar
- 51.Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Mitigation Assessment Team Report‐ Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey and New York: Building Performance Observations, Recommendations, and Technical Guidance.. FEMA P‐942 / November 2013. https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1386850803857-025eb299df32c6782fdcbb6f69b35b13/Combined_Sandy_MAT_Report_508post.pdf. Accessed July 26, 2018.