Additional Disaster Housing Recovery Updates - December 22, 2020

The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition is convening and supporting disaster-impacted communities to ensure that federal disaster recovery efforts reach all impacted households, including the lowest-income and most marginalized people who are often the hardest-hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover.    

Disaster Legislation

Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) on December 14 introduced the “Crisis Housing Act,” legislation that would establish a new housing assistance program for low-income families and individuals during natural and economic disasters. Read a one-pager on the bill or the text of the bill.


Amid record-breaking wildfires, the relentless hurricane season, and the ongoing pandemic, Americans have spent more time in Red Cross emergency lodging in 2020 than in any other year over the past decade. People relied on Red Cross disaster housing more than one million times this year – more than four times the annual average from 2011 to 2019.

Slate reports on FEMA’s title documentation requirements, which continue to prevent hundreds of thousands of disaster survivors from accessing critically needed aid and discusses actions the Biden administration should take to remove these barriers. The article mentions the “Housing Survivors of Major Disasters Act of 2019” and the sworn statement Ayuda Legal Huracán María, Fundación Fondo de Acceso a la Justicia, and Servicios Legales de Puerto Rico – all members of the DHRC – helped to develop. See an NLIHC fact sheet on title issues for more information.


FEMA Fact Sheet: Individual and Households Program: Remote Inspections

Hurricane Zeta

FEMA announced that President Trump approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Alabama, making federal disaster assistance available to supplement recovery efforts in the areas impacted by Hurricane Zeta in October. Individual Assistance (IA) is available to individuals in seven counties. Public Assistance (PA) funds are available on a cost-sharing basis in 19 counties. FEMA issued a public notice for the 19 counties approved for PA.

Wildfires in the West


Eight wildfire-affected Oregon counties have begun acquiring hotel rooms under Project Turnkey, a program intended to house as many as 1,000 displaced survivors of the wildfires and people experiencing chronic homelessness in 20 hotels bought by the state.