August 25 marked the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey making landfall in Texas, the first of three major hurricanes to hit in rapid succession in 2017, impacting Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. The housing recovery and rebuilding is far from over – in many ways, it is just beginning. Thousands of low income disaster survivors remain in temporary hotels, tens of thousands are still displaced, and millions have badly damaged homes. Today, as the aftermath of Hurricane Lane’s torrential rains is being assessed in the Hawaiian islands, fires burn across the west, and the worst of hurricane season gets underway, we at NLIHC recommit ourselves to the years of disaster housing recovery work ahead – in those communities already impacted by recent hurricanes and wildfires, and wherever the next major disaster strikes.
Despite the tremendous obstacles to the housing recovery of the lowest income people, NLIHC and our partners have accomplished so much together over the last year. Within days of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall, NLIHC reached out to members, partners and allies in impacted communities and across the country, and together we formed the ever-growing Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) of over 700 state, local and national partners. Many of you have been part of this effort from the beginning and others have joined along the way. We are united in our understanding that without strong and sustained advocacy the housing needs of low income survivors and their communities are often ignored, and in our commitment to ensure that the housing recovery is equitable, just and complete.
Since those early days, the DHRC has worked continuously to ensure an equitable housing recovery for people with the lowest incomes. By building a robust coalition of advocates and organizations with direct experience and working through strong state partners, the DHRC has engaged policymakers at every stage of the federal housing response, educating members of Congress and the administration, as well as the general public, on the housing recovery needs of low income survivors.
Please take a moment to look at this overview of the DHRC’s work over the last year - while not comprehensive, it is filled with examples of the work we have done together.
None of this work would have been possible without the powerful commitment to recovery of so many of you – from our longtime partners like Texas Housers, Texas Homeless Network and Florida Housing Coalition, to newer partners in Puerto Rico like Fundación Fondo de Acceso a la Justicia, Ayuda Legal Huracán María, and Coalición de Coaliciones, to hundreds of national allies. The JPB Foundation’s generous support made building, facilitating and activating this powerful coalition possible.
Local Perspectives on the One-Year Anniversary of Hurricane Harvey
In honor of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, multiple news outlets, including the Texas Tribune, Houston Chronicle, and Texas Monthly, featured stories on the impact of the hurricane, the displacement of Texas families, and the ongoing recovery efforts in Houston.
An op-ed in the Houston Business Journal by research economist Luis Torres at Texas A&M’s Real Estate Center highlights the potential impact of environmental regulations on housing affordability.
According to Mimi Swartz of Texas Monthly, “Houston could become a model for how to take on two of the thorniest issues plaguing cities around the world: climate change and increasingly unaffordable housing (the two are, it turns out, nearly inseparable).”
AccuWeather released an analysis of the sources and uses of federal aid as well as of individual and philanthropic donations deployed in response to Hurricane Harvey.
NPR featured a story on a Florida Keys Community Land Trust project to build a 200-unit workforce housing complex according to FEMA standards.
A “People's Tribunal on Harvey Recovery,” hosted by Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition member and NLIHC state partner Texas Housers, was held on Friday, August 24. The Tribunal featured the testimony of residents, community leaders, and experts in connecting the dots between the labor, immigration, housing, and environmental threats facing the city of Houston and all its residents.
On Thursday, August 30, from 4:00-5:00 pm ET, Pro Bono Net will host a roundtable discussion on Disaster Recovery and Recoupments as part of its Disaster Legal Aid 2018 Roundtable Series. The discussion will review what happens when an agency providing funding believes it has given an individual funding in error. To register, click here.