The following is a review of additional housing recovery developments related to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the California wildfires since last week’s Memo to Members and Partners (for the article in last week’s Memo, see 10/22). NLIHC also posts this information at our On the Home Front blog.
- HUD awarded nearly $50 million in supplemental funding for Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) to public housing authorities (PHAs) in Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas, and California. The additional funding was announced by HUD in an October 19 press release. The amount for each PHA varied, with the largest allocation of $29.3 million going to Miami-Dade Public Housing and Community Development. Fourteen PHAs in Puerto Rico received $5,311,812, $3,088,965 of which was awarded to the Municipality of San Juan. Texas received a total of $4,005,726 for the Housing Authority of Port Arthur, Aransas Pass Housing Authority, and Corpus Christi Housing Authority. California received $3,475,850 for Mendocino County, Sonoma County, the City of Santa Rosa.
- FEMA published an online portal with up-to-date “information on available grants and funding opportunities, community housing initiatives, sustainability and environmental measures, training modules and community planning and capacity building programs.” Resources on the portal may be helpful for governments, nonprofits, and survivors of Hurricane Harvey.
- The Texas General Land Office (GLO) posted Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP) Regional Housing Guidelines for the South East Texas Region, HGAC-W/Lower Colorado Region, HGAC-E/Gulf Coast Region, and Deep East Texas Region. The Texas GLO assigned $1.098 billion of the total allocation of Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds for HAP and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of owner-occupied single-family homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The GLO is accepting public comments on the guidelines until 5:00 p.m. CT on November 18, 2018.
- The California Department of Housing and Community Development posted a factsheet (Spanish version here) and slides (Spanish version here) from a series of public briefings held between October 2 and 11 on the State Action Plan for CDBG-DR funds allocated by HUD for California residents impacted by the 2017 wildfires, mudflows, and debris flows. The action plan will be posted here once it is available.
- An article in the Houston Chronicle reported that the City of Houston will ask Congress for an additional $2 billion to help residents whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Harvey. According to the article, original estimates for the amount of aid that would be needed was based on the number of recipients of FEMA’s Individual Assistance program. “We’re chronically undercounting the most vulnerable populations,” stated Tom McCasland, director of the Houston Housing and Community Development Department. “That’s why it’s important not to start with FEMA.”
- CityLab featured an article about The City of Houston’s attempt to distribute recovery funds more fairly using a new data-driven approach.
- Pew published a report in June titled, “What We Don’t Know about State Spending on Natural Disasters Could Cost Us: Data limitations, their implications for policymaking, and strategies for improvement.” The report found that states do not comprehensively track natural disaster spending and that state spending is highly variable. Additionally, researchers found that multiple agencies within states spending money on disasters track their activities and spending differently, making state-level data difficult to compare across jurisdictions and programs. To meet federal and state informational needs, Pew recommends policymakers at both levels of government make a commitment to improve data collection, document spending by disaster phase, and ensure tracking efforts include local spending.