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 3/5). NLIHC also posts this information at our On the Home Front blog.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced a 60-day extension of a foreclosure moratorium for FHA-insured homeowners in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Lenders and servicers will suspend foreclosure actions until May 18, 2018. FHA has several other options and resources to help homeowners impacted by Hurricane Maria.
A FEMA update provides additional numbers regarding the recovery efforts in Florida. The Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program, which funds emergency home repairs, has approved 189 projects with 69 under construction and another 69 completed. FEMA provided direct housing, travel trailers, and apartments to 318 households in Collier, Hendry, Lee, and Monroe counties. More than 27,000 households stayed in FEMA/state funded hotel rooms, and survivors received $173 million for home repairs and $497 million to help pay rent.
The Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) program ended March 10 for Hurricane Irma survivors in Florida. This program provides temporary emergency housing through FEMA-funded hotel rooms. FEMA reported on March 6 that of the 27,303 households that participated in the program, more than 26,000 had exited the program into longer-term housing.
A FEMA program that provides prescription assistance for uninsured disaster survivors has been extended through March 14 for survivors in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The program provides free 30-day replacements of certain drugs and medical supplies for eligible survivors.
Florida lawmakers are moving to sweep money from the state’s affordable housing trust fund to increase spending related to the aftermath of the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. The Legislature had been planning to provide much more funding for affordable housing, particularly after Hurricanes Irma and Maria worsened the already tight housing market. After the February shooting, lawmakers want to use housing trust fund resources to fund more school resource officers, child welfare case managers, mental health programs, and training for teachers who volunteer to carry guns in schools. Many Democrats have objected to sacrificing affordable housing, even if they support many of the proposed measures.
FEMA has granted an extension of the TSA program for survivors in Texas. The extension is approved through April 23 with an eligibility review on April 2.
A group of tenants and advocates held a rally outside Houston City Hall on February 27. Community members shared testimony about hazardous and subpar housing conditions and the impact Harvey had on their already poorly maintained housing. The rally received mixed reactions from City Council members. Houston area tenants are encouraged to share their stories using the hashtags #OutofOrder and #descompuesto.
From Our Partners
The National Consumer Law Center released a resource guide for obtaining mortgage relief following a disaster. The guide provides an overview, some essential resources, and details on the various forms of relief available to survivors.