Additional Disaster Housing Recovery Updates - November 18, 2019

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 11/11).

Federal Action & National News

In an op-ed in Next City, David Wild of Indiana University calls on more researchers to redirect their efforts to focus on the urgent problems of climate change.

USDA announced that $800 million in disaster agriculture recovery aid would be provided to farmers in Alabama, Georgia and Florida. The money was part of a $3 billion disaster relief package authorized by Congress earlier this year.

A new study on equity in flood-insurance finds that disaster-recovery funding is not benefiting vulnerable populations.

The Heritage Foundation published a list of reforms geared at controlling the federal budget’s growth. One recommendation was the removal of disaster and emergency spending from the budget baseline.

Midwest Flooding


FEMA has denied the state of Illinois’s appeal for federal assistance to help residents recover from this year’s destructive flooding. State officials have called on the state’s federal delegation to encourage changes to FEMA’s rules for determining Individual Assistance grants.

Midwest Tornados


One veteran in Ohio is still living without windows after his house was severely damaged by a tornado over the summer. Although FEMA provided aid to repair his roof, the funding was not enough to complete other needed repairs.

Tropical Storm Imelda & Hurricane Harvey


The Texas General Land Office (GLO) is running out of funds for the Homeowner Reimbursement Program (HRP), which reimburses Texas homeowners up to $50,000 for out-of-pocket expenses for eligible repairs after Hurricane Harvey.

Flood management and disaster recovery are among the top issues in a Houston mayoral runoff election on December 14.

California Wildfires 

One year after the Camp Fire, only 11 out of the 11,000 homes destroyed have been rebuilt. The area, particularly rural Butte County, had already been suffering from an affordable housing shortage, and many people have fled the area in search of cheaper housing after the fire.

A new map from researchers at California State University at Chico shows where survivors of the Camp Fire have moved in the year after the fire.

The City of Chico continues to grapple with ways to ensure housing for all as it continues to host residents displaced from nearby communities by the Camp Fire.

Hawaii Volcano Eruption

FEMA Individual assistance expired last week for victims of the 2018 Kilauea eruptions. Local nonprofits remain active in the area, and a FEMA-funded disaster case-management grant program has been authorized until May 2020.

Hurricane Michael


Florida is looking into solutions to protect against the flooding of homes, including the possibility of changing the building code to require houses to be elevated. Some argue that building more flood-resistant homes would be more cost-efficient than having to rebuild homes post-disaster as climate change brings increasingly destructive storms.   

Recent counts have found that are 54 homeless veterans in Bay County, Florida post-Hurricane Michael, reflecting the serious housing deficit in the area. The next count of homeless veterans will take place on January 10, 2020, and homeless organizations in Florida expect to see the number decrease as repaired homes become available.

Hurricane Florence & Hurricane Dorian

North Carolina

ReBuild NC is opening up comments for the draft of its Action Plan for spending $168 million in disaster recovery mitigation funding post-Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. The public can provide comments on the proposed plan until December 23.

Lawmakers are hoping to resolve their differences over a state disaster assistance bill that has stalled in the North Carolina General Assembly. Some state lawmakers are seeking to push back implementation of resiliency funding and other significant policy shifts until next year.

2016 and 2017 Disasters

Hurricane Maria: Community recovery centers in Puerto Rico are closing as survivors continue to seek support from federal and local assistance programs. The Canovanas, Lares, Naranjito, San German, and Utuado centers will close on Thursday, November 14.

Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico’s infrastructure is failing, according to a new engineering study. The report says that up to $23 billion should be invested in infrastructure repair and improvement during the next 10 years. HUD has continued to delay the release of important infrastructure recovery funding to Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Sandy: New York residents are being forced to adapt to a new vision of the city, one in which waterfront mitigation is key.