Additional Disaster Housing Recovery Updates - February 1, 2021

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.     

Learn more about the DHRC’s policy recommendations here

Resources & Reporting

HUD released an Urban Institute report examining the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program to uncover patterns in the pace of recovery across a sample of 88 grants for disasters from 2005 to 2015. Carlos Martín, one of the report’s lead authors, is a member of the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition. To learn more, read the report and an Urban Institute article on the findings.

In Case You Missed It: FEMA announced a proposed rule on December 14, 2020, that would severely restrict disaster-impacted states from receiving FEMA Public Assistance (PA). If the full rule is implemented, communities would lose access to federal resources needed to recover in all but very large disasters. The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) is requesting that FEMA withdraw these provisions. NLIHC created a fact sheet describing the proposed rule and offering arguments in opposition. See NLIHC’s Memo article for more information. Submit a comment on the proposed rule here.

Alabama Tornado

A tornado that struck Fultondale, Alabama on Monday (1/25) night killed a teenager, injured 30 individuals, and left a path of destruction in its wake. Aerial video showed collapsed homes and structures with roofs ripped off. Jefferson County Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsoulin said officials were trying to determine how many students may be homeless as a result of the tornado.

Hurricanes Laura & Delta

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards asked President Biden for $3 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to assist Louisiana with its ongoing recovery from the 2020 hurricanes. “The assistance that we’ve received thus far has been substantial,” the governor wrote. “It’s just insufficient to do everything that we need to do.”

FEMA announced it has identified commercial parks throughout the areas affected by Hurricanes Laura and Delta to house displaced residents temporarily. “Hurricanes Laura and Delta impacted areas of Louisiana where available housing was minimal or non-existent, thereby further exacerbating an already problematic lack of affordable rental housing units,” the statement reads.

KPLC reports on Calcasieu Parish officials’ long-term goals to address the parish’s affordable housing and homelessness crisis. Since most of Calcasieu’s resources for individuals experiencing homelessness were destroyed by the hurricanes, the Calcasieu Police Jury is taking a calculated approach to meeting basic needs. One of the department’s main goals is to strategize affordable housing projects and build an emergency shelter in Lake Charles within three to five years.

Hurricane Michael

Housing remains one of the most significant long-term recovery needs in Calhoun and Jackson counties more than two years after Hurricane Michael. The North Florida Inland Long-Term Recovery Group has helped 800 households in the two rural counties with repairing damaged roofs, home interiors, water wells, and more.

Wildfires in the West

FEMA has begun moving manufactured housing units onto a Mill City site that will provide temporary housing to eligible Oregon wildfire survivors. According to FEMA, 85 families whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged by the wildfires have received licenses for FEMA temporary housing. The temporary homes have been placed in RV parks or in FEMA-constructed sites.

The Oregonian reports that three months after the Oregon Legislature allocated $65 million to purchase motels to house wildfire survivors and other individuals experiencing homelessness, the first properties will not open until at least mid-February.

The New York Times examines how the pandemic and longstanding housing issues have impacted Californians' decisions to rebuild after the wildfires, noting how the lowest-income and most marginalized renters inevitably suffer the domino effects.