Disaster Housing Recovery Updates - September 23, 2019

The following is a review of disaster housing recovery developments since the last edition of Memo to Members and Partners (for the article in the previous Memo, see 9/16).

Federal Action & National News

Democratic candidate for president South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg unveiled his disaster response plan, the first candidate to do so. The plan focuses on the creation of a community-centered disaster commission and an increase in the number of FEMA responders.

Advocates say climate change is already worsening the affordable housing crisis.

A resort-industry specialist published an op-ed in the Las Vegas Sun saying that the federal disaster response in Puerto Rico was “shameful” and calling for the extension of temporary protective immigration status to Bahamian survivors of Hurricane Dorian.

California Wildfires

The IRS will expand low-income housing tax credits to areas affected by the 2018 wildfires in Butte, Los Angeles, and Ventura counties. This notice will allow the state committee that administers federal and state low-income housing tax credits to extend the date of its compliance review of credits in the three counties to either November 25 or one year after the date of a buildings’ restoration and placement back into service.

The California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund has raised $11 million to aid in multiple recovery efforts, including access to affordable housing, economic recovery, and strengthening the local social safety net.

The Northern California wildfires of 2018 proved to have disproportionally affected older Americans and people living with disabilities, with many of them living in low-income households.

Hurricane Michael & Hurricane Dorian


The disaster manager for Panama City had only a few weeks on the job when Hurricane Michael hit. Now he’s applying the lessons he learned to the new hurricane season.

Student homelessness in Florida has risen dramatically, the numbers have nearly tripled in the past decade. The group Miami Homes for All identified the lack of affordable housing in Florida and the displacement caused by recent hurricanes as the main factors in this student homelessness crisis.  

The effects of Hurricane Michael have continued to be felt by students returning to school this August in the Tallahassee area. Due to the destruction of thousands of homes from the storm and the subsequent absence of affordable housing, the schools have been facing a number of issues including student homelessness, drops in enrollment, and a lack of quality educators.  

Hurricane Florence & Hurricane Dorian

North Carolina

Hurricane Florence was found to have inflicted $17 billion in damages to North Carolina. A year after Hurricane Florence, approximately $7 billion in federal recovery funds have been approved or are pending.

Dare County’s planning board has approved a new proposal for the growth of “essential housing.” The proposal modifies the county zoning code to allow for affordable housing to be constructed more quickly.

North Carolina’s brush with Hurricane Dorian earlier in September should have state leaders thinking more about climate change.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) stated that the state has spent over $1.9 billion in recovery funding since Hurricane Florence struck. In some of North Carolina’s poorest counties, the recovery is slowly progressing thanks to government and private funding.

South Carolina

Charleston has signed a contract for debris removal after substantial flooding from Hurricane Dorian inundated the city earlier in September. The federal government will be covering approximately 75% of the contract cost.

2017 Disasters

Hurricane Maria: Reporters from The Weekly Journal interviewed Puerto Rico Governor Wanda Vazquez and Puerto Rico Housing Secretary Fernando Gil about their first meeting with HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

Hurricane Maria: Enterprise Community Partners, in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Homebuilders Association and the University of Puerto Rico, is releasing a manual for resilient home construction geared towards Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Florida Keys. The manual will be released at a press event in October.

Louisiana Flooding: Louisiana officials are hopeful the state will be receiving federal disaster mitigation funds by February or March of the coming year.

Hurricane Harvey: The application period for recovery assistance in South Texas has now closed. The program is first-come-first-served, meaning many applicants will likely not receive assistance through the program.