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Hudson City Case Files

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You live and work in Hudson City. Hurricane Diane, a category four hurricane with wind speeds of 140 miles per hour, has just released 14 inches of rain, overflowing several rivers, disrupting public transportation and power infrastructure. It has so far killed 190 people, and caused $1.8 billion in damage. You live in the Westside neighborhood that has been spared damage.

Hudson City is an eastern coastal city of about 2.5 million people. It is the third largest metropolis in the Northeast. The city center has a thriving arts, fashion and entertainment center with many local businesses. Northside is home to two large corporations anchoring a busy financial center. Hudson City is also home to several of the finest medical, research, technology, and educational institutions in the country.

Hudson City’s dense population is fairly unbalanced along the income spectrum. About 18.5 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, a figure about five percentage points below the national average. Overall mean income is above the national average (app. $47,000-$76,000), although several sections of the city fall well below the national average.

Along with much of the nation, the city has suffered significantly in the recent economic downturn. Property values have fallen. The fall in property values has led to a fall in revenues for the city and, as a result, municipal and community services have seen their budgets reduced, even as the need for the services has grown. Unemployment has risen, and even the securely-employed have stopped spending as freely as they used to, putting significant strain on the small businesses in the area. As a result, many small businesses have been replaced by larger chain establishments.

Hudson City is home to many immigrants and almost 40% of the population is foreign-born. As many as 250 languages are spoken in Hudson City, making it one of the most linguistically diverse cities in the country. Persons over 65 years make up about 14% of the population. Race and ethnic breakdown of the Hudson City population is 63% White, 18% Hispanic/Latino, 15% Black, 5% Asian, and <1% American Indian/Alaskan/Native Hawaiian.

Hurricane Diane, a category four hurricane with wind speeds of 140 miles per hour, has just released 14 inches of rain, overflowing several rivers, disrupting public transportation and power infrastructure. It has so far killed 190 people, and caused $1.8 billion damage. The city had not been fully prepared for this hurricane, as it has been spared from major hurricane activity for more than 25 years.

Hurricanes are giant, spiraling tropical storms that can pack wind speeds of over 160 miles (257 kilometers) an hour and unleash more than 2.4 trillion gallons (9 trillion liters) of rain a day. These storms bring destruction ashore in many different ways. When a hurricane makes landfall it often produces a devastating storm surge that can reach 20 feet (6 meters) high and extend nearly 100 miles (161 kilometers). Ninety percent of all hurricane deaths result from storm surges and heavy sustained winds. Torrential rains cause further damage by spawning floods and landslides, which may occur a few miles inland causing widespread structural damage to both man-made and natural structures. These winds can roll over vehicles, collapse walls and blow over trees.

Floods are the most common natural hazards in the United States. In the U.S., Every year, 100 motorists die every year due to floods. An average of 127 people lose their lives in a flood. (Frech, M. (2005). Flood risk outreach and public’s need to know. Journal of Contemporary Water research & Education, 130, 61-69.)

As a Hudson City resident, you notice many issues: Not all neighborhoods have experienced the same level of damage. The Eastside residential neighborhood took the brunt of the hurricane. It sustained major damage to buildings and infrastructure, including massive flooding which has caused street closures and public transportation barriers. Many residents have been displaced and have been evacuated to city shelters or friends and relatives in nearby unaffected areas. In addition, the Northside neighborhood, home to the financial center also sustained major flooding and damage, including the Abraham Lincoln bridge, one of the three main access points to Hudson City. Other neighborhoods sustained minor or no damage.

After Hurricane Diane hit Hudson City, there was a 25% increased need for services. Families make up 65% of Hudson City’s Eastside population. About 50% of this population did not have means to relocate to a hotel or home of a family or friend unaffected by the disaster. Many residents of this area have lost their jobs temporarily or permanently due to the damage sustained on the Northside, where many were employed.

  • Process goal: Think through and list the problems one might anticipate with increased need for client services and shelter.
  • Outcome goal: List potential solutions (outcome goals) to the problems listed above. Use systems theory to help you anticipate barriers to implementing these solutions.

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