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 5/13).
2018 California Wildfires
NPR reports that at least 1,000 families are still searching for even temporary housing after the Camp Fire, although the number is most likely significantly higher. State and federal officials are working to build temporary FEMA trailer communities, but many survivors still in need of housing are not eligible for assistance.
The loss of housing from the Camp Fire created a crisis-level housing shortage in Butte County and beyond. The City of Chico has seen a population increase of over 20% since the fire, leaving 19,000 people without a real place to live.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management is donating 50 FEMA trailers to Bay County to provide additional housing for survivors. Area officials have said the FEMA guidelines for providing trailers are too stringent, excluding families in need.
The Florida Housing Corporation approved funding for new rental developments that will provide more than 200 units of affordable housing in Bay, Gulf, Jackson, and Wakulla counties, all heavily impacted by Hurricane Michael.
Even seven months after the storm, piles of debris remain a common presence in the areas impacted by Hurricane Michael. Volunteers continue to encounter people living in damaged homes without functioning electricity or plumbing. Small tent encampments are common. With the lack of federal assistance, local organizations and community members are doing their best to help others. Many survivors feel completely forgotten.
The 2019 Rural Housing Recovery Fund, a partnership between the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, will receive $2.7 million in state housing infrastructure grants to develop affordable housing in eight storm-impacted counties.
FEMA will soon permanently close a trailer site in Sonoma County, CA that, at its peak, accommodated 120 trailers for survivors of the 2017 wildfires. FEMA will remove the remaining seven trailers and evict the tenants by July 10.