- Need for Direct Lease Program. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter on January 25 to Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Roselló advising him to request participation in FEMA’s Direct Lease program. FEMA uses the Direct Lease program to provide temporary housing by encouraging landlords to participate in the program, then paying for rent and utilities. This program requires a formal request from the governor to be implemented. Senator Rubio’s letter states that Florida’s “state and local governments are ready and willing to assist” but need additional federal resources to help displaced Puerto Rican families.
- Senators Urge Cooperation with HUD. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) sent a letter on January 26 to FEMA Administrator Brock Long urging him to coordinate with HUD to better address affordable, long-term housing solutions for Floridians and Puerto Ricans displaced by last year’s hurricane season. “HUD provides a variety of disaster-related resources and has significant experience with addressing post-disaster housing issues,” the letter states. The agency’s experience will help resolve long-term housing needs for those whose homes were destroyed or sustained damage.
- Letter from Governors. Governors Greg Abbott (TX), Jerry Brown (CA), Ricardo Roselló (PR), and Rick Scott (FL) wrote a letter to Congressional majority and minority leadership urging them to pass an additional disaster relief funding bill. The letter asserts that the “delay [of additional federal spending] only exacerbates ongoing uncertainty in devastated areas.”
- HUD Resource Fairs. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is coordinating a series of resource fairs throughout Puerto Rico during February and March. HUD is aiming to conduct fairs in each of Puerto Rico’s government zones. The resource fairs will include information on housing resources, sheltering at home, flood insurance, foreclosure prevention, housing counseling, title issues/successions, legal services, mitigation, loans, and more. FEMA, USDA, SBA, state and local entities, and local nonprofits will be there. Contact Migdalia Murati at HUD if you know of a group that should be included in the fair, or call 787.274.5888 for more information about how to attend.
- Extension of Executive Order. Florida Governor Rick Scott extended Executive Order 17-259 on January 25 for all Florida counties. This executive order ensures that the state can provide resources and assistance for families displaced by Hurricane Maria.
- Religious Institutions Eligible for PA. Private non-profit houses of worship in Georgia may now be eligible to apply for FEMA Public Assistance (PA) to cover expenses incurred from Hurricane Irma. The Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency will host three briefings to share information and requirements.
- The Texas General Land Office (GLO) has extended the due date for comments for the Hurricane Harvey Action Plan for CDBG-DR funds to February 13, 2018 at 5:00pm. The website points to unexpected delays in translation services as the cause for this extension of time for public input.