Additional Disaster Housing Recovery Updates – March 11, 2019

The following is a review of disaster housing recovery developments since the last edition of Memo to Members and Partners (for the article in the previous Memo, see 3/4).

Alabama Tornados

President Trump approved a major disaster declaration (DR-4419) on March 5 for the state of Alabama, specifically Lee County. Survivors are eligible to apply for Individual Assistance (IA), and local governments and certain nonprofits may receive Public Assistance funding for emergency work.

2018 California Wildfires

In a recent interview, Chico Mayor Randall Stone discussed the Camp Fire’s impact on the city’s housing stock and potential solutions for a market that was already tight before survivors from Paradise were displaced.

Hurricane Michael


Federal Response

FEMA released a fact sheet about the Direct Temporary Housing program that lists all the group sites, commercial parks, and private sites with units; 630 households have been licensed in, with about 200 more under construction or about to begin the license-agreement process. FEMA has also leased homes for 20 survivors.

Survivors whose homes suffered damage from Hurricane Michael and are uninsured or underinsured may be eligible for help from FEMA to restore their homes. FEMA has provided a fact sheet on eligibility and conditions.

Local Perspectives and Resources

Households in the Panhandle continue to struggle to find housing and get back on their feet. Contractors are in high demand, making it difficult for residents to complete repairs. Since so many families remain unhoused, some Bay County schools are offering laundry services for students and staff.

Panama City News Herald toured Bay County to speak with some families that still lack housing and have been living in one of the multiple tent communities throughout the area. County officials estimate about 7,800 residents are still considered homeless, included about 4,700 students.

Hurricane Florence

North Carolina

Federal Response

FEMA shared a disaster recovery summary of federal assistance in North Carolina over the six months following Hurricane Florence. About 200 families are still staying in FEMA-funded hotels while others are living in 660 FEMA-supplied temporary housing units

FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program ends Tuesday, March 12. Representatives encourage participating households, particularly those unable to find permanent housing by the March 12 deadline, to stay in contact with their disaster case-management service provider.

Local Perspectives and Resources

Wilmington City Councilman Paul Lawler discussed affordable housing in a recent interview, emphasizing the ways flooding and storm damage from Hurricane Florence have exacerbated the problem: “You have housing that got refurbished, and now a landlord is probably going to look at it and say, ‘Well I was getting $1,000 before I can get $1,300 now,’ and that will further contribute to the problem,” Councilman Lawler said.

2017 Disasters

Federal Response

A Congressional delegation led by House Committee on Natural Resources Chair Raúl Grijalva will hold a listening session on Friday, March 15, 4:30 pm ET at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan. The event, free and open to the public, will provide an opportunity for residents to share their concerns and experiences. Registration is required and can be completed online here.

Freddie Mac has invested $61 million in a new LIHTC fund, $15 million of which will aid displaced residents from Hurricane Harvey. Housing and supportive services will be given to 170 individuals and families through Houston’s New Hope Housing’s Dale Carnegie development.

Local Perspectives and Resources

A year and a half after Irma, four Florida Keys cities and Monroe County have yet to be reimbursed for approximately 88% of what was approved by FEMA. The localities may have to restructure their finances to prepare for longer-term delays. Keys officials were told by state emergency managers that the primary focus is recovering from Hurricane Michael in the Panhandle.