Hurricanes Housing Recovery Updates September 23, 2017

 

Information from Other National Organizations

  • LeadingAge and National Church Residences. During the week of September 14, those two organizations launched a “Hurricane Services for Seniors Hotline” to triage and help match people needing units and/or services with available units and/or services, particularly seniors and persons with disabilities. People may call 844-259-4747 between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm E, Monday through Friday. There is an informational hotline picture card that can be easily shared on social media platforms to help reach those in need.
  • Children’s Defense Fund. In response to the hurricanes, the Children’s Defense Fund emailed a new newsletter, Children’s Life Boat (currently only available on the CDF-Texas website), to its contacts and allies in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida to aid parents, families, and caring adults in protecting and supporting children. CDF wishes to offer concrete information and advice to communities in responding to the needs of children and youth.

HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

U.S. Virgin Islands

  • Major Disaster Declaration. President Trump approved a major disaster declaration that makes federal disaster assistance available to affected individuals on the island of St. Croix.
  • Disaster recovery page. FEMA established a Hurricane Maria disaster recovery page (DR-4340).

Puerto Rico

  • Major Disaster Declaration. President Trump approved a major disaster declaration that makes federal disaster assistance available to affected individuals in 54 municipalities.
  • Disaster recovery page. FEMA established a Hurricane Maria disaster recovery page (DR-4339).

Local Perspective


HURRICANE IRMA

FEMA

Florida

  • By the Numbers:
    (As of Friday morning – all figures, except Housing Assistance (HA) reduced from Tuesday)

    • Friday: 103,703 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved* Tuesday 142,265
    • Friday: $102,461,720 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved* Tuesday $106,670,132
    • Friday: $54,743,864  Housing Assistance (HA) approved* Tuesday $38,277,132
    • Friday: $47,717,856 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved* Tuesday $68,443,000

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • Amendment Number 9. The ninth amendment to the Disaster Declaration makes 21 more counties eligible for Categories C through G of Public Assistance (PA). These counties were previously eligible for Categories A and B of PA, and Individual Assistance (IA).
  • Disaster Recovery Centers. New DRCs have opened in Riverview and Fort Myers.
  • Blue Roof Locations. Ten more locations are available for residents in 17 counties to apply for Operation Blue Roof and complete the Right of Entry (ROE) form.

Florida Division of Emergency Assistance

  • The Florida Division of Emergency Assistance reported on September 21, that more than 500 FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) are currently active across all 48 Individual Assistance (IA) declared counties. They have visited more than 6,460 homes, interacted with more than 5,600 survivors and registered more than 3,200 survivors for IA. DSATs visit disproportionately impacted communities to offer individuals in-person, case specific assistance and guidance for registering for IA and accessing available resources.

Georgia

  • FEMA teams canvassing. Teams made up of FEMA disaster specialists are working in Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Liberty, and McIntosh counties to give residents an opportunity to register for disaster assistance. They are also working to identify and address immediate and emerging needs.

HUD

HUD issued a Situation Report on September 20 (prior to Hurricane Maria hitting).  Highlights of the report include:

  • Numbers of Public Housing and HUD-assisted Multifamily Housing properties in the impacted areas:
    • Public Housing: Florida has 214 properties, and Virgin Islands has 191 properties, with zero in Puerto Rico
    • Multifamily Housing: Florida has 862 properties with 44,000 assisted units, Virgin Islands has 2 properties with 52 units, Puerto Rico has 3 properties with 222 units, and Georgia has 741 properties with 35,967 units.
  • Local St. Thomas news reported Monday that all residents remaining in the Tutu Highrise Apartments were being relocated to shelters in advance of Hurricane Maria.
  • After a FEMA Joint Field Office (JFO) is set up in Orlando or Tampa, additional HUD staff will join the Florida team, including Jerrie Magruder who will lead the JFO for HUD.
  • A Mission Assignment (MA) with FEMA was executed for the Housing Recovery Support Function (RSF) in Florida. FEMA requested HUD presence on-site at their Interim Operating Facility (IOF) in Tallahassee for the Housing RSF beginning this week. The initial team has been identified for this work and is being scheduled.
  • HUD examined American Housing Survey estimates about market housing and insurance for four Florida metro areas, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Notable are the number of homes estimated to not have homeowner’s insurance, particularly homes that do not have a mortgage. Renters are at particular risk, with dramatically more not having insurance than having insurance. Estimates for manufactured homes are presented separately. Details are in a chart on page 3 of the report.
  • In the Virgin Islands prior to Hurricane Maria, HUD indicated that displaced public housing families receiving tenant protection vouchers from the Virgin Islands Housing Authority (VIHA) would need to be able to work with housing authority staff for in-person program briefings. Given the current conditions, HUD indicated that it might make more sense to relocate families to shelters in San Juan. The state voucher agency in Puerto Rico is willing to help. HUD wondered whether transportation to Puerto Rico was available, and whether there would be shelter space in Puerto Rico for the displaced families.
  • VIHA has not reached the approximately 1,300 existing voucher families in their program, but will continue their efforts. Given funding restrictions, VIHA cannot use public housing funds to assist existing voucher holders with relocation if these families need to move either on or off the island.
  • PIH was concerned that families with vouchers will not find suitable private rentals, and will not have a way to leave the island in the near term if they want to use their voucher on the mainland.

USDA

  • D-SNAP. In a media release on September 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that households who may not normally be eligible under the regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rules may qualify for D-SNAP — if their income is under the disaster limits and they have qualifying disaster-related expenses. D-SNAP eligible households in the affected areas will receive two months of benefits, equivalent to the maximum amount of benefits normally issued to a SNAP household of their size.

The D-SNAP announcement was the latest in an ongoing series of USDA actions to help Florida cope with the storm and its aftermath that also include: the early release of September benefits to all current SNAP participants prior to the storm’s impact; a waiver to allow SNAP participants to buy hot foods and hot food products with their benefits at authorized SNAP retailers statewide through September 30; mass replacement of 40% of household SNAP benefits to current participants in 52 counties; and free school meals for children attending hurricane-affected schools through the National School Lunch Program through October 20.

Details about Florida’s D-SNAP program, also known as Food for Florida, will be at the Food for Florida website.


HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

  • By the Numbers:
    (As of Friday morning – all figures, except Housing Assistance (HA) reduced from Tuesday)

    • Friday: 103,703 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved* Tuesday 142,265
    • Friday: $102,461,720 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved* Tuesday $106,670,132
    • Friday: $54,743,864  Housing Assistance (HA) approved* Tuesday $38,277,132
    • Friday: $47,717,856 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved* Tuesday $68,443,000
    • Public Assistance dollars approved as of Friday, $182,550,843; last report on September 12 was $181,034,279

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • Disaster Recovery Centers. DRCs have opened in Jasper, Conroe, Sour Lake, and Pasadena, and in Livingston, Oyster Creek, and Houston (Northshore Community Fellowship in Faith parking lot). A DRC in Dallas (Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center) closed yesterday afternoon.
  • FEMA Fact Sheets.
    • Increased Cost of Compliance. Texas residents who have sustained property damage caused by Hurricane Harvey flooding, are insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and are located in a special flood hazard area may be eligible to receive up to an additional $30,000. These funds are to help bring homes into compliance with communities’ floodplain management requirements.
    • Don’t Wait to Clean Debris. FEMA instructs households to clean up debris and not wait for FEMA home inspectors or flood insurance inspectors. More than 87,000 flood insurance claims have been filed with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Even though FEMA has deployed more than 2,000 inspectors, it may take up to 30 days for an inspector to reach someone’s home.

Local Perspectives

  • Some residents of Houston public housing were initially told they needed to pay rent for flooded, uninhabitable units. A HUD spokesperson has clarified the confusion, and Houston Housing Authority is working to reimburse any tenants who paid rent for damaged units.

Federal and State Bank Regulators

  • The federal bank regulators, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, along with and state bank regulators, have issued guidance to financial institutions about assisting those affected by the hurricanes, including a discussion of how banks can get Community Reinvestment Act credit for their efforts.

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