Disaster Housing Recovery Update – May 22, 2023

Congressional and National Updates

A University of Southern California blog profiled NLIHC Board Member and founding member of the DHRC Chrishelle Palay’s journey to working in disaster recovery.

Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee Bennie Thompson, and Representatives Troy Carter (D-LA), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Clay Higgins (R-LA) announced the creation of the Disaster Equity and Building Resilience Caucus.

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) was interviewed about disaster recovery funding issues leading to a slow disbursement of funding in North Carolina. The Senator called for permanent authorization of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program via the “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act.”

Representative Norma Torres (D-CA) introduced the “Mudslide Recovery Act,” which establishes a pilot grant program to address damage from mudslides.

Central Californian lawmakers continue to press for federal funding for farmers impacted by repeated severe rain events known as atmospheric rivers.

An article by Sarah Labowitz in Just Security calls for a coherent climate disaster strategy – including the permanent authorization of the CDBG-DR program. 

An article by Shana Udvardy released by the Union of Concerned Scientists calls for additional policy reforms necessary to address the creation and impact of wildfires.

State and Local


The Eagle Point Apartments, located in Paradise CA, which was razed by the 2018 Camp Fire, will provide 43 units of badly needed affordable housing to the area. The apartments are funded by HUD CDBG-DR funds.

California’s agricultural communities are working to recover from catastrophic flooding, with housing being a chief concern.


Marshall fire recovery efforts are reaching the limit on philanthropic funding as local philanthropic groups face complex decisions and federal resources prove scarce.


Cape Coral residents want to use the $1.1 billion awarded to Lee County through the CDBG-DR program to increase the resilience of the area to hurricanes and better prepare for future storms.


Recovery is slow, but progress is being made as communities impacted by the 2018 Kilauea eruption rebuild. That eruption destroyed more than 700 homes.


Temporary housing for survivors of the 2022 Western Kentucky tornados will be ending in mid-June per an announcement from FEMA. FEMA states that only 20 households remain in temporary housing.

Gwen Johnson of the Hemphill Community Center in Jackhorn, KY details some unexpected help they received in the aftermath of the 2022 East Kentucky Floods.


Lake Charles is pushing to rebuild a large public housing complex, but some wonder if that goal is unattainable given the realities of disaster recovery.

Louisiana’s Restore Louisiana Homeowner Assistance Program, funded by HUD, is expanding eligibility to homeowners who sustained FEMA verified damage above $3,000. The program provides repair funding and other assistance for individuals rebuilding after the 2020 and 2021 hurricanes.


Two bills in the Minnesota legislature aim to assist the city of Spring Grove as it recovers from a devastating December fire.

New Mexico

Wildfire season is underway in New Mexico – with the Lincoln National Forest upgrading its fire danger warning to “high” this week. The Park Fire in early May burned 3,000 acres after being started by a lightning strike.


The last survivor of the Holiday Farm Fire in 2020 has left the long-term shelter program. While the sheltering portion has ended, the state’s Office of Resilience and Emergency Management said they are continuing to guide 333 families through insurance claims, FEMA paperwork, and finding alternative forms of funding.


After FEMA failed to approve a disaster declaration for Southwest Virginia for flooding in 2021 and state funding delays slowed the arrival of relief money, recovery in the region “plods along.”