Additional Updates on Disaster Housing Recovery - February 5

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 1/29). NLIHC also posts this information at our On the Home Front blog.

General Updates

The “Small Business Access to Capital After a Natural Disaster Act” (HR 4792) passed the House by voice vote on January 29. The bill expands existing provisions for small businesses in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to provide additional resources for small businesses affected by natural disasters. “FEMA estimates that nearly 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster,” stated Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), the sponsor of the bill. “Therefore, developing strategies to drive private capital to a community’s small business is one of the most efficient uses of private sector capital and one of the most effective ways we in the federal government can help an area recover.”

Hurricane Maria


Private nonprofit houses of worship in the U.S. Virgin Islands can apply for Public Assistance (PA) through February 16.  FEMA changed the policy regarding PA eligibility on January 2, and the deadline has been extended to allow these organizations to apply.

Local Perspectives

Puerto Rico officials estimate the damage wrought by Hurricane Maria will prevent them from paying down any of their debt for the next five years. The Puerto Rico government currently owes more than $70 billion.

Hurricane Irma

Local Perspectives

Florida Governor Rick Scott extended Executive Order 17-259 on January 25 for all Florida counties. This executive order ensures the state can provide resources and assistance for families displaced by Hurricane Maria.

Private nonprofit houses of worship in Florida can apply for Public Assistance (PA) through February 15.

Private non-profit houses of worship in Georgia can apply for FEMA Public Assistance (PA) to cover expenses incurred from Hurricane Irma through March 2.

Hurricane Harvey

Local Perspective

The U.S. Economic Development Association, the International Economic Development Council, and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service are partnering together to provide economic development assistance to communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Volunteer experts with experience in disaster recovery provide support to local governments on the recovery process.

A PBS News Hour special highlights the housing struggles families continue to face following Hurricane Harvey. Thousands of Texans remain in temporary housing while they seek more permanent housing solutions. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner estimates approximately 4,300 Houstonians are still living in hotels while they wait for longer-term FEMA assistance.