The following is a review of additional disaster housing recovery developments since the last edition of Memo to Members and Partners (for the article in the previous Memo, see 6/03).
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report evaluating FEMA’s disaster assistance for older Americans and individuals with disabilities. The report presents a grim picture, finding that FEMA did not adequately ensure equal access to benefit programs or develop a cohesive plan for older Americans and individuals living with disabilities.
The number of Iowa counties under a disaster proclamation by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has grown to 45. The proclamations allow lower-income residents to access state funding for basic needs, such as paying for temporary housing.
Due to the lack of affordable housing in Southwest Nebraska and Iowa, flood victims have been forced to stay in donated RVs at state park campgrounds.
President Trump signed a Major Disaster Declaration for three Oklahoma counties on June 2, as the area continues to experience flooding and tornadoes. Individuals in Muskogee, Tulsa, and Wagoner Counties will be eligible for FEMAs individual assistance (IA) program, as well as disaster recovery loans from the Small Business Administration.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order on May 31 extending emergency regulations prohibiting price and rent gauging in counties affected by the 2018 wildfires.
The Bay County Long Term Recovery Task Force released its final draft report. The plan recommends a variety of strategies to repair and expand affordable housing in the area, such as the use of modular homes, the creation of community land trusts, and the establishment of an affordable housing trust fund.
FEMA approved over $14 million for debris cleanup and infrastructure repair for counties affected by Hurricane Florence. Carteret, Leland, and Duplin Counties received reimbursement funds for debris removal efforts, and the South River Electrical Cooperative received reimbursement funds for repairs to its electrical grid.
Public interest groups are reigniting the debate over permanently repealing the “Jones Act,” which places higher tariffs for shipping vessels that anchor in Puerto Rico. Opponents say that the law contributes to a rising cost of living on the island, further harming its economy during the recovery.