Additional Updates on Disaster Housing Recovery – April 30

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 4/23). NLIHC also posts this information at our On the Home Front blog.

General Updates

FEMA released a draft Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide, which is open for public comment through June 7, 2018. This is a policy resource for all Individual Assistance (IA) programs that FEMA administers. NLIHC’s Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) will be coordinating and submitting comments on an improved IA program.

Those affected by the 2017 hurricanes are now eligible for a new Exceptional Circumstances Special Enrollment Period for healthcare coverage.

Hurricane Maria

Local Perspective

The Kaiser Family Foundation released a new report regarding health care issues in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands six months following Hurricane Maria.

Hurricane Irma

Local Perspective

While tourism may have recovered in the Florida Keys, many residents have been left behind. Seven months after Hurricane Irma, many families are still living in improvised conditions. Tourism is critical to the Keys’ economy, but low income workers are being priced out of the market. Building resilient homes is expensive, and coastal cities often avoid rebuilding affordable homes or public housing.

Hurricane Harvey

Local Perspectives

Houston homeowners have spoken out about their negative experiences with the Partial Repair and Essential Power for Sheltering (PREPS) program. The General Land Office (GLO) runs this FEMA-funded program, which provides just enough in repairs to make homes livable. Many homeowners were disappointed with the repairs, and both advocates and homeowners are unclear about the GLO’s criteria for the program.

Two neighborhoods near Beaumont, TX have received disparate responses following Hurricane Harvey. In a small, predominately white, middle-class town just outside the city, contractors were busy making repairs on houses. Many families had FEMA trailers, and signs provided helpful information regarding community resources. On Pine Street, where predominately black residents live among empty lots where homes were bought out after past floods, destroyed houses sat empty, and only one family had a FEMA trailer. More transparent data are needed to better understand such discrepancies.