Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Tuesday, September 19, 2017



Puerto Rico

  • Emergency Declaration Declared. President Trump declared on September 18, that an emergency exists for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico due to conditions resulting from Hurricane Maria. FEMA has established the Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Emergency Disaster webpage (EM-3391).

Virgin Islands

  • Emergency Declaration Declared. President Trump declared on September 18, that an emergency exists for the U.S. Virgin Islands due to conditions resulting from Hurricane Maria. FEMA has established the U.S. Virgin Islands Hurricane Maria Emergency Disaster webpage (EM-3390).

Local Perspective

  • The Virgin Islands has paused Irma-related recovery efforts to prepare for another possible hit from Hurricane Maria.




  • By the Numbers: (As of Tuesday morning)
    • 142,265 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
    • $106,670,132 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
    • $38,227,132 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
    • $68,443,000 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • Amendments to Disaster Declaration.
    • A sixth and seventh amendment to the initial disaster declaration enables renters, homeowners, and business owners in 11 more counties to apply for FEMA Individual Assistance (IA), bringing the total to 48 counties.
    • Amendment Number 8 installs Willie Nunn as the Federal Coordinating Officer, replacing Justó Hernández.
  • Disaster Recovery Centers.  A DRC opened in St. Augustine. FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), volunteer groups, and other agencies are at the centers to answer questions about disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, and businesses. They can also help survivors apply for federal disaster assistance. Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) crews are canvassing many affected areas and are able to register people for FEMA assistance if needed. When residents require further assistance, the teams may refer them to a disaster recovery center. It is not necessary to visit a center to register for and receive federal disaster assistance. If possible, survivors should register with FEMA before visiting a recovery center.
  • FEMA Outreach Teams. FEMA outreach teams are canvasing the designated counties to help residents register for disaster assistance, provide application updates, and make referrals to additional community resources. FEMA has contracted housing inspectors to assess damage to homes for those who have already registered with FEMA.
  • Operation Blue Roof. Carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Operation Blue Roof, provides eligible homeowners with free, temporary blue plastic sheeting to help reduce further property damage until permanent roof repairs can be made. However, roofs with 50% or more structural damage are not eligible.
    • This activity is currently taking place in Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Henry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties.
    • There are currently seven locations where households can apply for Operation Blue Roof and complete the Right of Entry (ROE) form.
    • FAQs are answered.

Virgin Islands

  • Amendment to Disaster Declaration. Amendment Number 3 adds permanent work under the Public Assistance (PA) program Categories C-G for the three islands declared disaster areas, St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. Those islands were previously approved for PA under Categories A and B (debris removal and emergency protective measures), including direct federal assistance.

Puerto Rico

  • Amendment to Disaster Declaration. Amendment Number 2 makes 15 more municipalities eligible for Public Assistance (PA), bringing the total to 19.


  • Major Disaster Declared. On September 15, the President raised the situation in Georgia from Emergency to a formal Disaster Declaration. FEMA’s has established a Georgia Hurricane Irma disaster page (DR-4338).
    • The Initial Disaster Declaration makes households in Camden, Chatham, and Glynn counties eligible for Individual Assistance (IA), and all 159 counties eligible for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance (PA) program. All areas of the state are eligible for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
    • Amendment Number 1 adds households in Liberty and McIntosh counties eligible for Individual Assistance.

Local Perspectives

  • Public Housing in VI. Residents of Estate Tutu Apartments, a public housing development on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, are being relocated as the building has suffered severe damage. Of the 285 families living there, 160 are in shelters, while others are still living in the damaged building. While finding local housing is preferred, many residents may have to move.
  • Affordable housing in the Keys. Hurricane Irma destroyed many of the trailers and mobile homes that constituted the limited amount of affordable housing in the Florida Keys. Low-income residents now worry that developers will use this as an opportunity to buy the trailer park’s land for luxury apartments, forcing them to leave the islands. Governor Rick Scott says he wants the Florida Keys open for business by October 1.
  • Housing in Immokalee. Collier County Housing Authority is opening temporary housing in Immokalee for up to 176 people displaced by Hurricane Irma.
  • Former President Bill Clinton dropped in on the shelter at the Miami-Dade County.



  • By the Numbers: (As of Tuesday morning)
    • 237,618 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
    • $434,725,370 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
    • $292,063,922 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
    • $142,661,448 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
    • Public Assistance (PA) no longer indicated

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • More than $1 Billion Approved. FEMA reports that as of September 17, $1.09 billion in federal funds have been provided directly to residents to aid in personal recovery. This includes:
    • $333 million in FEMA grants for housing assistance, including emergency home repairs, replacement, and rental assistance.
    • $146 million in FEMA grants to replace essential personal property and help with medical, dental, legal, and other disaster-related expenses.
    • $347 million paid to National Flood Insurance Program policy holders in advance payments.
    • $265 million in Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, and businesses.

In addition, FEMA’s Public Assistance Program approved $181 million for local and state agencies to reimburse them for the cost of debris removal and emergency response. FEMA also made $516 million in mission assignments to more than two dozen federal agencies.

  • Amendments to Disaster Declaration. An eighth amendment authorizes federal funds for all categories of Public Assistance (PA) at a 90% federal cost-share, except for assistance previously approved at 100%. Amendment Number 4 on September 2 limited the 90% federal cost-share to debris removal and direct federal assistance.
  • Disaster Recovery Centers. Eight more DRCs have opened: Port Aranas and League City, Port Arthur, Dickinson, Bay City, Brookshire, Houston (at the Church Without Walls), and Orange.
  • FEMA Fact Sheets.
    • HUD-Assisted Households. People who were displaced from their HUD-assisted homes in one of the 39 designated disaster counties should register with FEMA, according to a FEMA Fact Sheet. This advice applies to households who were living in public housing, private homes with vouchers, or private homes assisted with project-based rental assistance. Displaced households may be eligible for temporary assistance to pay for a place to live until they return to HUD-assisted homes. They may also be eligible for grants to replace essential contents such as clothing and household items, as well as medical, dental, and burial expenses.
    • Other Needs Assistance. Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grants are funded on a cost-share basis by FEMA and the State of Texas to assist Hurricane Harvey survivors. These grants can be used to repair or replace damaged personal property or to pay for disaster‐related necessary expenses and other serious needs. The state provides these grants to repair or pay for:
      • Disaster‐related medical or dental costs.
      • Disaster‐related funeral and burial costs.
      • Clothing, household items, tools required for work, and necessary educational materials.
      • Fuels for primary heat source.
      • Disaster‐specified clean‐up items.
      • A vehicle damaged by the disaster.
      • Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster to avoid additional disaster damage while disaster‐related repairs are being made to the home.
      • Other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by the State and FEMA.
    • Critical Needs Assistance. FEMA has authorized Critical Needs Assistance (CNA) for households with immediate or serious needs due to being displaced from their primary dwelling. CAN is available in all 39 counties designated as disaster areas. Critical needs are life-saving and life-sustaining items including, but not limited to: water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items and fuel for transportation. To be eligible for CNA a survivor must complete a registration with FEMA.
    • Clean and Removal Assistance. FEMA has authorized Clean and Removal Assistance (CRA) for homeowners with disaster-related real property damage who do not qualify for Home Repair Assistance because the damage did not render the home uninhabitable. This assistance is intended to prevent additional loss and potential health and safety concerns and reduce contamination from floodwater. CRA is awarded as a one-time payment per household. This amount represents the average cost of cleaning, sanitizing, and removing carpet in a flooded dwelling in the designated area.
    • Register with FEMA Even if You Have Insurance. FEMA recommends registering with FEMA even if a household is covered by insurance or have registered with other agencies. There are situations in which insured households might still be eligible for FEMA assistance.

Local Perspectives

  • Rent Increases. Low income residents of Houston are unable to leave damaged units as rental prices increase in Houston. While some report landlords abusing their power to take advantage of the price increase, the majority of landlords are doing their best to accommodate tenants.
  • ID for D-SNAP. The Department of Health and Human Services has announced that they will take a client statement as a form of ID when applying for D-SNAP. Since many Texans have lost important documents, this will help more families buy food.
  • Temporary housing. Officials are struggling to house the tens of thousands of Texans who are unable to return to their homes. Shelters and hotels remain full, and while FEMA and other volunteers are working to quickly repair homes, this will be a slow process and a huge challenge. FEMA may begin to bring in trailers as a temporary option.

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