When Evacuees Become Residents
Today, the state's Health and Human Services Commission will be releasing a report titled Hurricane Katrina Evacuees in Texas--"a comprehensive effort to collect data on the number of Katrina evacuees still in Texas, their plans to remain or not remain in the state, and their need for services as they rebuild their lives in Texas communities." The state identified the evacuees using info gathered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); folks who registered for emergency aid were among those counted in the study, which the state admits in its report is "an inaccurate representation of all hurricane evacuees." Still, it was better than nothing--and the state needed to do something to mark the one-year anniversary, since, it reveals, "numerous elected officials" throughout the state had expressed "interest and concern" in the long- and short-range impact evacuees were having on the state.
Gallup helped with the survey, conducting 15- to 20-minute phone interviews with some 6,415 "randomly selected evacuee households." According to the study, a total of 251,000 evacuees remain in Texas a year after Katrina--66,000 living in the North Texas area, 2,017 of whom were interviewed for the study. (Houston has the most folks living in the area: 111,000 estimated, and likely more than that.)
Among the key findings:
In a few moments, we'll have more details from the report--including detailed demographics of Katrina evacuees living in North Texas and the state's conclusions. In short, Katrina evacuees aren't using health and human services the way they should, but they will. And it won't be cheap. --Robert Wilonsky