Disaster Housing Recovery Updates – August 30, 2021

Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by climate change-driven disasters across the country, including the catastrophic flooding in Tennessee, Tropical Storm Henri, Tropical Storm Fred, and wildfires in the west. The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition convenes and supports disaster-impacted communities to ensure that federal disaster recovery efforts reach all impacted households, including the lowest-income and most marginalized people who are often the hardest-hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover.         

Learn more about the DHRC’s policy recommendations here. 

NLIHC Updates

NLIHC and the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC) are hosting a two-part webinar series on their recent report, Taking Stock: Natural Hazards and the Federally Assisted Housing Stock. The first webinar, “Assessing Vulnerability to Disaster in the Federally Assisted Housing Stock,” took place on August 25. The second webinar, “Disaster Planning and Mitigation for Affordable Housing Organizations,” will take place September 22 from 1-2:30 pm ET. Register for the series here and read the report here.

Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rico Senate and House of Representatives approved bill 429/488 that protects families from evictions and foreclosures in the event of disasters, as petitioned by Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico, a long-time DHRC partner. The bill is finally on the desk of Governor Pedro Pierluis, who has 10 days to act. Ayuda Legal is asking advocates to urge Governor Pierluisi to support and sign bill 429/488:

  • Use social media (Twitter!). Tweet and tag @GovPierluisi and @fortalezaprto to share your support using #CeroDesahuciosPR
  • Call the Governor’s Mansion, La Fortaleza, at 787-721-7000, or email them at [email protected]

Tropical Storms

The Washington Post reports at least two people were killed after Tropical Storm Fred swept through western North Carolina on August 17, causing severe flooding. About 500 Haywood County families were displaced by the damage, with some losing their homes. Numerous homes and businesses were damaged in Clyde and Canton, including several community establishments that provide critical services for low-income residents.

Firefighters and emergency workers conducted 41 water rescues in Asheville during the flooding caused by Tropical Depression Fred. More than half of those rescues were located in a manufactured home community. Before the biggest rain day, Asheville police warned individuals experiencing homelessness living near the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers about the potential for devastating flooding.


President Biden approved a Major Disaster Declaration for Tennessee on August 24, making FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) available to impacted individuals in Humphreys County. FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program, including funding for emergency protective measures and direct federal assistance, is available on a cost-sharing basis.

Search-and-rescue efforts remained underway on Tuesday (8/24) in the town of Waverly and throughout Humphreys County after the catastrophic flooding in Tennessee. The flooding left portions of Waverly – a city of nearly 4,300 people – in ruins, sweeping homes from their foundations.

The Nashville Tennessean outlines how people can help people impacted by the extreme flash floods.


President Biden approved a Major Disaster Declaration for California to supplement recovery efforts in areas impacted by the wildfires beginning on July 14. This action makes FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) available to affected individuals in Lassen, Nevada, Placer, and Plumas counties.

Due to nearby wildfires, the air quality in the Sacramento region has worsened to unhealthy levels. Despite the poor air quality, Sacramento County is not planning to open cleaner-air centers until the particulate matter 2.5 air quality index (AQI) exceeds 251. Sacramento City Councilwoman Katie Valenzuela is urging officials to open cleaner-air centers every time the AQI hits 150 to ensure individuals experiencing homelessness can have relief from the unsafe air.