- HUD announced on February 22 that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) expanded mortgage relief for FHA-insured homeowners impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria as well as the wildfires in California. FHA created a “Disaster Standalone Partial Claim” option designed to help those affected by the disasters and struggling to resume mortgage payment.
- HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs provided stakeholders with a status report on private HUD-assisted properties in areas hit by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. As of February 22, HUD has completed site visits to properties in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. HUD is still gathering information about vacant or uninhabitable units in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Multifamily is in “recovery mode” and has recovery plans from most owners in Georgia and Texas, while owners are still working on recovery plans in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
- Texas has 454 Multifamily properties; 13% suffered moderate to severe damage. 82 of the properties have not returned to “full operational mode,” which can mean not all of the residents have returned because the property is still undergoing repairs.
- Georgia has 62 Multifamily properties; 3% suffered moderate to severe damage. All have returned to normal operations.
- Florida has 910 Multifamily properties; 11% suffered moderate to severe damage. One hundred and seventy-three properties are still not fully operational and only ten of these have approved recovery plans. HUD is still attempting to collect information about displaced residents.
- Puerto Rico has 203 Multifamily properties; 34% suffered moderate to severe damage. Six of the 203 properties do not have permanent power; one has a generator serving the entire property, two have generators that only serve the office and common areas, and three have no generator. Only four properties are fully operational.
- The Virgin Islands has 17 Multifamily properties; 65% suffered moderate to severe damage. Eight properties are fully operational, while one property only has power for the office and common areas.
- HUD is planning meetings with owners in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in early March.
- NLIHC has prepared a simple outline for residents and advocates to help them understand the requirements related to an Action Plan, public participation, and reporting that must be met in order to receive and use Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds. The outline summarizes key features to help residents and advocates better shape a CDBG-DR grantee’s Action Plan and to monitor uses of CDBG-DR over time. NLIHC’s outline is based on the February 9, 2018 Federal Register notice that applies to the $7.4 billion in CDBG-DR funds Congress appropriated on September 8, 2017. Of that amount, HUD awarded $5 billion to Texas, $1.5 billion to Puerto Rico, $616 million to Florida, and $243 million to the Virgin Islands.
While the outline is based on the February 9 Federal Register notice, most of the features covered are likely to apply to future Federal Register notices about new CDBG-DR funding, including one that will be published for the additional $28 billion Congress appropriated on February 9, 2018 (although that upcoming Federal Register notice will have special features about the $12 billion specifically for disaster mitigation).
- President Trump authorized an extension of a 100% federal cost share in Puerto Rico. President Trump originally authorized this cost share for both debris removal and emergency protective measures in September. This order extends 100% cost share for debris removal for another 90 days and emergency protective measures for another 60 days.
- Residents in Hamilton County, Florida, have until March 9 to apply for FEMA assistance. The major disaster declaration was amended to include individual assistance (IA) for Hamilton County on January 10, so these residents are on a different timeline from the rest of the state.
- The Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas released a Recovery Tracker in an attempt to create transparency regarding how federal disaster aid is spent. The interactive dashboard is still a work in progress and includes data from the General Land Office and FEMA.
- Texas Housers explains the need for equitable recovery in a new blog post. The Texas General Land Office--the agency leading recovery in the state--used data based on damage to property, rather than to the people themselves, to create their state action plan. This methodology generally overlooks households with the lowest income and should be adjusted immediately.
- Harriet Tregoning, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development at HUD, recently spoke in Houston about how to create a more resilient, competitive city. She spoke to the need for floodplain disclosure requirements to homeowners since a majority of homeowners did not realize they lived in a floodplain prior to Hurricane Harvey. She encouraged partners at all levels to engage in the process to build a stronger Houston.
- Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared his state would lead their own disaster recovery response, but federal records reveal that this state-led recovery is falling behind previous efforts. Fewer people affected by Hurricane Harvey have been moved into trailers than at the same point in time for Hurricane Katrina. Housing repairs are happening at a slower pace than following Super Storm Sandy. Small communities have been left out, and delays continue. The slow response is due to both FEMA and state agencies.