James Joseph

James Joseph has lived in Houston for most of his life and is a community organizer in Fifth Ward. He remembers previous hurricanes, like Allison and Ike, and their effects on his neighborhood. Joseph says that he moved back to Houston just after Hurricane Katrina devastated Louisiana and that he saw that the devastation from the highway.

He explains that he did not think that Harvey was going to be a devastating storm until the storm had almost passed. He received calls from community members asking for help because their homes had flooded. Joseph says that many people in his neighborhood were denied aid by FEMA because water entered their home from the roof and not because of rising water. He helped rescue people in boats and in trucks during the storm. He explains his efforts to get a grocery store to come to his neighborhood to ease food accessibility issues. The storm also affected his own family, as he did not have electricity or food at his house. Joseph expresses frustration with how disaster aid was distributed, and that his communities will not see any of the money the city received. He also says that the storm brought his neighborhood together, as they had to help themselves. His neighborhood did not receive much help from the city, but they did get a lot of aid from other institutions like non-profits and churches. At the end of the interview, Joseph says that disasters like Harvey are especially difficult on low-income neighborhoods because those areas are already struggling.