Rethinking Disaster Recovery and Mitigation Funding in the Wake of Hurricane Harvey

Report by Carlos Villegas, Kateryna Wowk, Kyle Shelton
July 18, 2018

Kinder Institute for Urban Research   (Houston)

This research brief provides context about how the recovery process is unfolding in the Hurricane Harvey-affected region and how the area can prevent a similar situation from happening again. It examines how localities, states and the nation approach funding comprehensive disaster preparation, recovery and overall resilience. This report is a follow-up to a previous research brief on the complexities of disaster recovery funding. 

This report addresses three major areas. First, it examines challenges in Texas in securing effective hazard mitigation planning and resilience building to flood events. Second, it highlights the issues caused by a focus on short-term recovery funding and the shortfalls of one of the major long-term mitigation programs, the National Flood Insurance Program. Third, it addresses the gaps and negative incentives created by the current funding system and offers steps to improve accountability and encourage more proactive mitigation efforts. 

The Harvey-affected region is in the midst of an ongoing national conversation about how to shape future efforts at resilience and disaster preparation. The recommendations of this research brief offer suggestions about how we all might move the system forward.