Disaster Housing Recovery Update, December 23, 2019

The following is a review of additional disaster housing recovery developments since the last edition of Memo to Members and Partners (for the article in the previous Memo, see 12/16).

National News

The Legal Services Corporation announced that it would be rewarding more than $14 million in disaster relief grants to organizations performing disaster recovery legal work. Among the grantees are DHRC partners Legal Aid of North Carolina, Legal Services of North Florida, and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

Disaster recovery efforts from Mozambique to Houston show that public participation and civic engagement is a necessity for a recovery to be successful.

Midwest Flooding


More than $65.7 million in workforce housing tax credits are being made available by the Iowa Economic Development Authority to communities struck by flooding this year.

Hurricane Harvey


DHRC member Texas Housers released a blog post by staff member Julia Orduña detailing her initial impression of the disaster recovery system during her first six months as a community navigator in Houston.

A coalition of community groups in Galveston argue that the Texas General Land Office (GLO) owes survivors more time to apply for benefits. Bureaucratic hurdles and high employee turnover rates at the GLO made it difficult for many low-income Hurricane Harvey survivors to apply for assistance.

The GLO continues to solicit public input regarding its draft Mitigation State Action Plan. The plan will detail how $4 billion in CDBG-DR funding for mitigation projects and buyouts will be used.

The Grimes County Commissioners Court has approved an agreement between the county and the General Land Office to allow the GLO to purchase homes of individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey.

California Wildfires 

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) touted in an op-ed the state’s $1 billion investment in disaster resiliency, response, and recovery. He also pointed to the legislature’s decision to create a $21 billion wildfire fund, as well as his encouragement of community-based resiliency programs. 

Hurricane Michael

A developer in Lakeland Florida has received an $8 million state housing grant to build affordable housing for survivors of Hurricane Michael.

Commissioners in Panama City have approved a $4 million increase in emergency management firm contracts, including an effort to gain digital support for processing aid applications when federal housing dollars finally become available.

Florida will receive an additional $287 million and $38.6 million from HUD for Hurricane Michael and Irma relief, respectively.   

Hurricane Florence & Hurricane Dorian

North Carolina

Lutheran Services Carolinas is bringing holiday cheer to survivors of Hurricane Florence in North Carolina. Gift cards were provided to the more than 400 families still living in FEMA campers.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) signed the Storm Recovery Act of 2019, approving the release of $180 million in state funds for recovery and resilience projects related to hurricanes Dorian, Florence, Matthew, and Michael.

2016 and 2017 Disasters

Hurricane Maria: DHRC Partner Ivis Garcia, AICP, PhD, talked about mitigation and resiliency in Puerto Rico on the American Planning Association’s podcast.

West Virginia Floods: West Virginia has delayed drawing down $106 million in flood mitigation money by six months after conversations with stakeholders and HUD.