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 (see Memo, 10/15). NLIHC also posts this information at On the Home Front.
- FEMA issued a press release announcing it had reimbursed the State of Texas through the Public Assistance grant program for mold removal and cleanout of the Port Arthur Housing Development Southwood Crossing apartment complex following Hurricane Harvey.
- FEMA released updated versions of county-by-county infographics showing the Hurricane Harvey response and rebuilding process with data through September 28. A statewide overview for Texas is also available, with data through October 1.
- Enterprise Community Partners submitted a letter to the HUD assistant secretary for community planning and development containing ten recommendations for how to best guide and support grantees in their use of Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds for mitigation. According to the letter, “the recommendations seek to provide context, requirements, and incentives that would allow HUD and grantees to have a greater impact in reducing risk to natural hazards for a generation or more.” NLIHC and the DHRC participated in the development of these recommendations.
- Texas General Land Office (GLO) Commissioner George P. Bush announced the posting of Regional Housing Guidelines for the Homeowner Assistance Program for the Central/Golden Crescent Region and the Coastal Bend Council of Government (COG) Region. The draft guidelines are available for a 30-day public comment period, through November 11. Comments can be submitted to: CDR@recovery.texas.gov
- Texas GLO announced the submission of Amendment 1 to the State Action Plan for Hurricane Harvey recovery to HUD for final approval on October 12. The amendment includes plans for the distribution and eligible uses of direct allocations totaling $2.3 billion for Harris County ($1.115 billion) and the City of Houston ($1.155 billion).
- Public comments on the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s amendment to its CDBG-DR State Action Plan are due by November 9.
- The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Rebuild Florida has information and resources to help low- and moderate-income residents whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017.
- NLIHC state partner and DHRC member Texas Housers points to a flawed, decentralized recovery effort in response to Hurricane Harvey in Texas in a new blog. According to Texas Housers, the reliance on local jurisdictions to supply 25% of the funding for hazard mitigation promotes “unequal recoveries to rebuild Texas at the expense of low- and moderate-income people and communities of color.” The blog post highlights that “larger cities and counties with deeper pockets are already at an advantage in applying for, securing, and matching these funds. The temptation for a city or county to redirect available CDBG funding from low- and moderate-income people to meet the match requirement is very high.” The article links to a map showing applications to the Texas Department of Emergency Management for funding through the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant program by request location.
- Centro, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter CUNY, released Rebuild Puerto Rico: A Guide to Federal Policy and Advocacy. The guide describes the wide range of federal programs available for disaster relief and recovery, as well as non-disaster programs related to affordable housing and economic development. In addition to an overview of federal programs, the guide provides information on entry points for advocacy around specific programs. An overview of the document is available here.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is hosting a Community Town Hall: A Conversation on Disaster Recovery Featuring Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell and Dallas Fed President Robert S. Kaplan on November 15 from 10:00 a.m. to noon in Houston. Registration has closed.
- DHRC member Adi Martínez Román was quoted in an article in The Indiana Lawyer.com on Hurricane Maria’s impacts on Puerto Rican communities. The article highlights FEMA’s denial of 61% of the applications for assistance by Puerto Rican survivors as a result of FEMA’s determination that applicants lacked appropriate proof of homeownership.
- The Instituto Desarrollo Juventud (Youth Development Institute) released preliminary findings from a study commissioned by Estudios Técnicos, Inc. (ETI). Early analysis shows the substantial impact Hurricane Maria had on children in Puerto Rico.
- USA Today published an article in September by DHRC member Jorge Luis Vasquez Jr. from LatinoJustice PRLDEF describing his firsthand account of the conditions in Puerto Rico one year-post Hurricane Maria.