Hurricane Matthew has wreaked devastation across the coast of the southeastern United States. The Category 5 hurricane impacted Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Dominican Republic and The Bahamas, across the Caribbean Sea, and affecting coastal areas of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. More than 100,000 people have been displaced from their homes, but the ones most affected are people in low-income communities.
Sub-standard housing and weak infrastructure
A recent Time article pointed out the reasons why low-income people suffer the brunt of devastation by monster hurricanes like Matthew. Many people of color and low-income families live in low-lying areas or communities that have sub-standard housing with weak and crumbling infrastructure. When a storm like Katrina or Matthew hits, they are the ones most likely to suffer the most housing damage and loss.
Although federal, state and local laws prohibit discrimination, years of discrimination, such as discriminatory housing and racial steering have resulted in African Americans living in more vulnerable communities and neighborhoods that are decaying, with community governments less likely to invest in their rehabilitation.
The need to invest in low income communitie
It makes good sense to invest in better housing for low-income families. According to a report by the National Institute of Building Sciences, every dollar spent on mitigation saves $4 in recovery costs. Equally important, every dollar not spent on mitigation only increases the disparity between racial groups.