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 11/18).
Federal Action & National News
According to analysis from the Center for Public Integrity, tribal nations were on average more vulnerable to disasters than the U.S. overall. At the same time, they receive significantly less recovery funding.
More states are beginning to create pet disaster evacuation plans. As many disaster victims choose not to evacuate during disasters because of their pets, the plans could save lives.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) released the “Wildfire Defense Act” calling for the implementation of science-based methods for mitigating wildfire damage and defending life and property.
An op-ed in Nature is calling for more sensitivity to ethical dilemmas and power imbalances as more researchers study the effects of natural disasters.
FEMA’s National Advisory Council released a report looking at the potential benefits of using blockchain registries for disaster relief payments.
The state of Iowa successfully leveraged federal funding to develop a $1.4 billion flood mitigation program. Pew Charitable Trust has released research on this method of mitigation funding.
Businesses and residents in the Miami Valley of Ohio are worried that the lack of housing recovery in the area will forever change their communities as many survivors continue to reside in garages and damaged homes.
Tropical Storm Imelda & Hurricane Harvey
The Texas General Land Office’s (GLO) Homeowner Assistance Program is coming to a close soon, with the deadline for applications for home construction being December 31. This could be one of the last chances low-income homeowners have to get their homes back.
The GLO has announced nearly $17 million in disaster recovery buyout funds for homes located in floodplains in Austin, Grimes, Liberty and Wharton Counties.
California wildfires are getting worse due to climate change and corporate negligence, requiring public re-education and new models of fire prevention.
A year after the Camp Fire struck Paradise, California, the effort to remove debris from the fire is now finished. The total tonnage of debris removed was equivalent to 10 Empire State Buildings.
Prior to Hurricane Michael, 70% of Bay County Florida’s homes were rental units. The county intends to quickly utilize housing alternatives on former mobile home parks or county-owned land to ensure short-term housing needs are met.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis proposed a $91.4 billion budget for FY 2020-2021. The sum includes $1.3 billion for Hurricane Michael recovery.
Hurricane Florence & Hurricane Dorian
The North Carolina legislature has approved a $180 million disaster recovery bill for the state. Although legislators dialed back some proposals originally included in the bill, the legislation signifies a boost to the state’s Hurricane Dorian recovery efforts.
Coastal island areas like Ocracoke on the Carolina Coast are grappling with a grim future as efforts to recover from Hurricane Dorian continue.
2016 and 2017 Disasters
Hurricane Maria: A medical student visiting Puerto Rico wrote a piece on community reliance in the face of disaster.
Hurricane Maria: This week, SUNY and CUNY are hosting a disaster recovery conference on lessons learned from Hurricane Maria.
Hurricane Katrina: The residents of a Louisiana neighborhood are among the first U.S. residents to be resettled because of the climate crisis. The entire community of Pecan Acres is being forced to move to higher ground to escape near-continuous flooding.