Florida Atlantic University
Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE)
The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving global crisis that has multiple ramifications and impacts, particularly for those who are most vulnerable, and for those who are still recovering from past disasters. Individuals and households are facing multiple challenges, including health risks, precarious housing conditions, and exposure to weather and climate hazards, within the context of rapidly evolving policy mandates and short-term measures (such as moratoriums on evictions) to address the uncertainties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. This Rapid Response Research (RAPID) project seeks to capture ephemeral and time-bound data on the subjective perceptions of resilience of individuals and households, including their capacities to cope and adapt in response to these challenges. This serves the national interest and advances national health, prosperity and welfare by improving our understandings of several topics, including: (i) the factors influencing individual and household coping and adaptive capacities and their subjective perceptions of risk and resilience; and, (ii) the impacts of policy fragmentation and ambiguity in addressing inter-sectional and cumulative vulnerabilities related to health, housing, and hazards. The findings have practical applications for pandemic preparedness and disaster management, specifically for socially vulnerable populations with respect to housing, sheltering and evacuation in hazard-prone areas. The study areas include counties in south and central Florida and the Panhandle, which are still recovering from Hurricanes Michael and Irma, and which saw an influx of displaced persons from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. As the 2020 hurricane season looms, the potential impact of storms will further exacerbate the inter-sectional and cumulative vulnerabilities of renters and others living in precarious housing conditions. Data to achieve the research objectives includes repeated cross-sectional population surveys conducted in both English and Spanish via the Internet and landlines. Three waves of the survey are conducted to capture the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the perceptions of resilience and coping and adaptive capacities of individuals and households over a few months: (i) early June 2020 to align with the beginning of the hurricane season and by which time there will be policies being implemented to address the fallout of the pandemic; (ii) October 2020 by which time the pandemic may abate or earlier if there is a major hurricane event in Florida; and (iii) March 2021, which is approximately a year after policy responses to the pandemic began. Secondary data are collected and analyzed from media sources and policy documents on the rapidly evolving policy measures adopted to combat the pandemic during the time periods immediately preceding the survey work. Given the study area, the research team is also interested in the immediate effects of temporary federal, state, and local-level policies dealing with evacuation, sheltering, and housing because of the pandemic and potential storms. Multivariate statistical models are used to examine the dynamic relationships between perceptions of resilience, risk perceptions, inter-sectional vulnerabilities related to health, housing, and hazards, and policies adopted to address the pandemic and its ramifications.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.