Additional Updates on Disaster Housing Recovery – April 23

The following is a review of additional housing recovery developments related to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the California wildfires since last week’s Memo to Members and Partners (for the article in last week’s Memo, see 4/16). NLIHC also posts this information at our On the Home Front blog.

General Updates

NLIHC has prepared a chart detailing Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) allocations and the status of State Action Plans.

California Wildfires

Local Perspective

California Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order to help provide housing for survivors of the recent mudslides and wildfires by removing certain regulatory barriers to mobile home construction and placement. This suspension of barriers applies to Ventura, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Diego counties in the southern part of the state. Governor Brown released a similar notice last year for affected counties in northern California.

Hurricane Maria

Local Perspectives

U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp’s Hurricane Recovery and Resilience Task Force will be holding several community meetings in the coming weeks. The sessions will provide overviews of the Emergency Home Repairs Program, which provides free temporary repairs, and reports on the program’s progress.

Displaced Puerto Ricans continue to struggle to find affordable housing on the mainland. An estimated 500 Puerto Ricans relocated to Lancaster, PA. Some have been living in FEMA-funded hotels but were at risk of losing assistance on or soon after Friday, April 20, the most recently scheduled eligibility review deadline. Even if a family member is working, their wages are often insufficient to afford a market-rate apartment.

FEMA has suspended TSA assistance for 86 households in New York City. FEMA found these households no longer met eligibility requirements. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, eleven city councilmembers, nine members of Congress, and a number of community leaders signed a letter urging FEMA to reconsider its decision. City officials and community leaders are trying to provide assistance for these families and individuals.

Hurricane Harvey

Local Perspective

Nearly ten years following Hurricane Ike, the island town of Galveston, TX, has yet to use $76 million designated for rebuilding public housing. Under the Obama administration, HUD stepped in to calm fierce community and local government opposition to the reconstruction of the housing, but the city has yet to build any public housing units. The struggles in this community can provide insight for post-Harvey recovery.