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Principal Investigators: Dr. Suzanne Pritzker, University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, Dr. Denae King, Texas Southern University, Barbara Jordan – Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs

Community Partners: Bridgette Murray, Founder and Executive Director of Achieving Community Tasks Successfully; Maria Aguiree-Borrero, Director of Community Initiatives, Avenue; Deborah Chen, Civic Engagement Programs Director - OCA-Greater Houston Chapter; Becky Edmondson, President, Westbury Area Improvement Corporation

Title: Building Civic Engagement in the Post-Harvey Context: Exploring Facilitators and Barriers to Civic Activity in Four Hurricane-Affected Communities in Houston Brief

On Aug. 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Houston, TX as a category 4 storm. Recorded as the second-most costly hurricane to strike the United States as of Jan. 2019, the damage that followed in its aftermath left the nation stunned at the forces of natural disasters. The greater-Houston area was left with extensive water damage after severe flooding.

University of Houston, Texas Southern University, and their community partners are studying four Houston-area communities (Near Northside, Alief, Pleasantville, and Westbury) affected by Hurricane Harvey to better understand how residents perceive civic engagement and how the disaster experience has impacted their civic engagement.

Through partnerships with community organizations, researchers will delve into civic engagement conceptually by investigating how community members perceive, define, and experience facilitators and barriers to engaging civically within their neighborhoods. Race and economic diversity play an integral role in this research, as low-income neighborhoods have struggled to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey’s devastation. The purpose of the research is to understand how the crisis and recovery process from Hurricane Harvey impacted community members and their experience with civic engagement.

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