In the impoverished areas of North Houston, life after Hurricane Ike has been even more of a struggle. Across Houston, illegal immigrants, who already live on the fringes of society, are afraid to ask for help for fear of being arrested and deported, reports the Houston Chronicle. At the same time, citizens who have lived here all their lives are desperate for help and can't figure out who to call or grow weary waiting on busy help lines.

Many people already living in poverty have not been able to take advantage of programs that would assist damages to their homes. When seeking information on financial aid programs, they've been greeted by constant busy signals and long waits on hold. The Chronicle reports that the storm has also pushed those on fixed incomes, such as pensioners and the disabled, to the edge of their already vulnerable lives. Extensive property damage may leave many destitute.

In Houston, around 20% of the population lives below the poverty level.