About Ezra Eeman

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Veterans Account for Higher Proportion of Homeless in Rural, Western States

By Ezra Eeman, Lothar Krause and Lindsey McCormack

Among the many policies that will continue under the newly re-elected Obama administration is the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015. However, with over 67,000 veterans estimated to be homeless in 2011, the goal remains elusive.

Veterans have long been overrepresented among the homeless. Nationwide they are about 10 percent of the general population, but comprise almost 14 percent of the homeless adult population, according to a VA report. Five states—California, New York, Florida, Texas and Georgia—account for more than half the total veteran homeless in the country. A different picture emerges by taking homeless veterans as a percentage of the total homeless population of each state.

Interactive Map

Fema: How some states pay for other’s bad weather.

By Emma Thorne & Ezra Eeman

Gino Vitale owns 16 buildings in Red Hook – a low-lying, high-risk area of Brooklyn that fell under mandatory evacuation order during October’s Hurricane Sandy. Just a few days after the superstorm, Vitale, in an interview with Time.com, estimated the damage to his properties to be about $600,000. You’d think he could count on support from his insurance company and from FEMA – but for many homeowners, it’s just not that simple.

Vitale, for one, received just $4,000 in insurance money to help repair the $80,000 devastation Hurricane Irene inflicted on his homes in 2011. With this project, we’re hoping to show how a situation like Vitale’s can happen: how the flood insurance system, both public and private, works – and more to the point, if it works.

Currently, the estimated damage from Hurricane Sandy stands at $5 to $10 billion. Taxpayers could be left paying for half of that, thanks to shortfalls in insurance coverage. We’ll be using data from FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (found here, here, and here) to compare the number of flood insurance claims in each state against the average payouts on those claims, and how they’ve changed over the last 10 years. What we want to explore here is whether or not there’s an inequality in the national flood insurance system that needs to be addressed. Some states, for example, are much more prone to massive weather events and flooding, yet their residents pay the same flat-rate NFIP premiums as do people in drier parts of the country. In this instance, private insurance company would raise premiums for those who continue to live and rebuild in high-flood-risk areas, but the national system does not – essentially leaving some states to pay for others’ bad weather. Is this a fair and efficient way to run the system?

Potential expert sources:
Rita Hollada, flood insurance agent and former representative to the NFIP
http://www.pianet.com/news/press-releases/2012/holladawinsaward051012

Someone from New York State Floodplain and Stormwater Managers Association?
http://ny.floods.org/images/NFIP_Reform_White_Paper_NYSFSMA.pdf

Matthew E. Kahn, Professor at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment, the Department of Economics, and the Department of Public Policy.
http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/11/the_problem_with_fema_no_one_is_talking_about.html

High concentrations of homeless veterans in “big sky” country by Ezra Eeman, Lothar Krause and Lindsey McCormack.

Among the many policies that will continue under the newly re-elected Obama administration is the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) goal to end veteran homelessness by 2015. However, with over 67,000 veterans estimated to be homeless in 2011, the goal remains elusive. Veterans have long been overrepresented among the homeless. Nationwide they are about 10 percent of the general population, but comprise almost 14 percent of the homeless adult population, according to a VA report. Five states—California, New York, Florida, Texas and Georgia—account for more than half the total veteran homeless in the country.

A different picture emerges by taking homeless veterans as a percentage of the total homeless population of each state. In 2011, more than one in five homeless persons in North Dakota was reported to be a veteran, according to our analysis. Kansas, Arizona and Montana also had above-average concentrations of veterans in their homeless census.
To see our Final Story click here.

Design Assignment by Ezra Eeman.

I liked how National Geographic tried to come up with a different design to show the flux of foreign-exchange high school students. However I missed a clear geographical representation. I tried solve this by keeping the original colored bands but adding a world map.

Somehow I knew that I had seen this idea before. Turns out our good old friend Charles Joseph Minard drew a world map of migration using the same principle.