Additional Updates for Disaster Recovery – June 25

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 6/18). NLIHC also posts this information at our On the Home Front blog.

Federal Response


Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to the president and CEO of the American Red Cross (ARC) expressing his concerns regarding reports about ARC’s lack of organization and inadequate resources to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Mr. Thompson requested that ARC, which is chartered by Congress, provide a written response to several questions aimed at ensuring the organization has assessed its shortcomings and implemented changes.


USDA has extended the moratorium on property foreclosures in presidentially declared disaster (PDD) areas impacted by Hurricane Maria until September 17, 2018. This moratorium extension applies to new and already-initiated foreclosures.


The deadline for survivors of Hurricane Maria to apply for individual assistance from FEMA was June 18. A Slate article found that about 60% of applications in Puerto Rico had been denied, many because families without titles to their properties could not prove homeownership.

Local Perspectives

The Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College has released a report, The Housing Crisis in Puerto Rico and the Impact of Hurricane Maria. The policy brief examines the Puerto Rican housing crisis since the island’s economic recession began in 2006 until the 2017 landfall of Hurricane Maria.

Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), wrote an op-ed for Univision about barriers to recovery facing Puerto Ricans in Florida and on the island. Meeting with families in central Florida who expressed gratitude for the hospitality they have received in the state, Mr. Perez said, “Unless there are concrete actions by the federal government to extend housing assistance and grant more resources, their future is as uncertain as the day Hurricane Maria made landfall.”

Habitat for Humanity is seeking an advocacy and government relations consultant in Puerto Rico to support its advocacy work on the island. 

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB) has set aside $500,000 of its 2018 Affordable Housing Program funds for the Disaster Rebuilding Assistance program. Through member institutions, the FHLB provides funds for the repair and rehabilitation of owner-occupied housing affected by disasters. The county or parish in which the homeowner resides must have been approved for FEMA’s Individual Assistance no earlier than March 12, 2017.

The National Center on Law & Elder Rights hosted a June 20 webinar on “Assisting Older Homeowners After a Natural Disaster.”  The webinar slides can be reviewed here, and an issue brief on the subject is available here.