Additional Disaster Housing Recovery Updates – July 23

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 7/16). NLIHC also posts this information at our On the Home Front blog.

Federal Response


The Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing on July 18 titled “Are We Ready? Recovering from 2017 Disasters and Preparing for the 2018 Hurricane Season.” Witnesses emphasized the importance of implementing mitigation efforts and addressing the shortage of housing.


FEMA hosted four “Strategic Plan Partner Strategy Sessions,” the transcripts of which can be viewed here.

FEMA has denied or not answered 79% of appeals from hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico seeking assistance to rebuild their homes.

State Action

The Central Recovery and Reconstruction Office of Puerto Rico released the draft of its Economic and Disaster Recovery Plan. The opportunity for public comment closed on July 18.

The Connecticut State government has allocated $1.5 million for Puerto Rico evacuees living in the state. The largest allotment, $600,000, is earmarked specifically for housing. The Connecticut Department of Housing will use $300,000 for general assistance for 300 to 600 families, which includes clothing, medical supplies, and other services.  One hundred households will be provided a first month’s rent and a security deposit along with case management support.


NLIHC created a chart explaining the differences between FEMA’s Rental Assistance and the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) and demonstrating why DHAP is the better program for providing longer-term housing assistance for survivors of natural disasters.

The Practising Law Institute has released a webinar that provides an overview of the legal issues facing disaster survivors with a focus on FEMA appeals.

A legal services roundtable discussion will occur on Thursday, July 26, titled “Introduction to Federal Disaster Benefits and the ABA-YLD Disaster Legal Services Program.” The discussion will focus on the process of going from a “Disaster” to a “Major Disaster Declaration” and the federal benefits triggered by the declaration.

Online Tool for Sharing Stories of Disaster Survivors: Personal stories from disaster survivors can make a compelling case for the development of more responsive federal policies and programs - now and in the future. The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) is collecting these accounts from survivors of the hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 and their advocates through a brief online form in both English and Spanish.  Story-providers can choose to remain anonymous.