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Cityscape: Volume 11 Number 3 | Chapter 9



Volume 11 Number 3

Closing Gaps in Local Housing Recovery Planning for Disadvantaged Displaced Households

Mark G. Welsh
Ann-Margaret Esnard

As with the articles in this issue, this introduction reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Severe hurricane disaster events can leave the most vulnerable and disadvantaged households of a community displaced and in limbo for several years following the storm. Long-term recovery coalitions and committees with roots in voluntary nonprofit and faith-based organizations are springing up nationwide to fill unmet needs of displaced households after local, state, and federal agencies have completed their initial recovery missions. In South Florida, Broward County’s recovery experience following Category 1 Hurricane Wilma in 2005 demonstrated the valuable role that these coalitions play in reintegrating displaced households into strong, recovering communities. Scaling this success to deal with severe and damaging storms that displace far more disadvantaged households requires a coordinated predisaster recovery planning framework. Long-term recovery coalitions, as currently structured, cannot design such planning frameworks. In this article, the authors make the case for a more formal independent planning agency dedicated to integrating coordinated housing recovery scenarios and priorities into municipal comprehensive plans as they evolve.

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