General Updates

  • The U.S. Department of Education released guidelines for state and local educational agencies and schools to provide some flexibility and support post-disaster. The guidelines include flexibility on deadlines, alternatives and strategies for providing program services after disruption, and methods for ensuring continuity of services.
  • The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, and the Southern Legal Counsel will hold a free webinar to discuss ways to help ensure educational continuity and stability for students displaced by the hurricanes and other disasters. The webinar will take place Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 3:30 pm ET. More information and registration is here.
  • FHLBanks Relief Fund. The Council of Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks) has established a $1 million relief fund to help communities recovering from Hurricane Irma. Funds will be allocated to specific regional and national organizations.


  • Increased Federal Cost Sharing. President Trump authorized an increase in federal cost sharing 100% federal for debris removal and emergency protective measures in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands for 180 days after their respective disaster declarations.


  • Hospitals and ports. Power is restored at two Puerto Rico hospitals, and hospitals on St. Croix and St. Thomas are re-energized and re-established as mobile hospitals. In Puerto Rico, three ports are fully open and another five are open but with restrictions. Nine ports in the Virgin Islands are open but with restrictions.
  • Commodity Points of Distribution. Thirty-two commodity points of distribution (PODs) are now open, with 16 each in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.




  • By the Numbers: (unchanged from 9/25)
    • 144,407 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
    • $124,387,092 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
    • $56,284,303 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
    • $68,102,790 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • SBA Disaster Recovery. Next to insurance, the U.S. Small business Administration (SBA) is survivors’ primary source of funds for long-term rebuilding. Homeowners and renters should apply; if they are found ineligible, they may be referred to FEMA to be considered for additional assistance.
    • A homeowner may be eligible for a disaster loan up to $200,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed real estate.
    • Homeowners or renters may be eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.

Puerto Rico

  • Amendment Number 4. A fourth amendment to the initial disaster declaration enables residents in six more municipalities to apply for Individual Assistance (IA) and three more to apply for Public Assistance (PA).


  • Two More Eligible Counties. Amendment Number 2 to the initial disaster declaration makes residents in Charlton and Coffee counties eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance (IA).


  • Letter to HUD. Members of the Congressional Texas delegation have sent a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson requesting the immediate release of CDBG-DR funds for Texas. The letter also requests HUD to:
    • Exercise the authority given to it by Congress to lower to 50%, CDBG’s statutory requirement that 70% of the funds benefit households with income less than 80% of the area median income;
    • Avoid specified percentages of CDBG-DR be used for housing, infrastructure, or mitigation efforts; and
    • Shorten the usual CDBG public comment period regarding a draft disaster action plan from 30 days to seven days (last year’s CDBG-DR instructions allowed a 14-day public comment period).


  • By the Numbers: (no change from 9/25)
    • 213,062 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
    • $407,677,861 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
    • $276,665,092 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
    • $131,012,769 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
    • $203,906,217 Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated** all of which are for Emergency Work (Categories A-B)

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

**Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

  • Floodplain or historic property restoration activities.  FEMA posted an initial public notice concerning activities that may affect historic properties, activities that are located in or affect wetland areas or the 100-year floodplain, and critical actions within the 500-year floodplain.
    • Presidential Executive Orders 11988 and 11990 require that all federal actions in or affecting floodplains or wetlands be reviewed for opportunities to relocate, and be evaluated for social, economic, historical, environmental, legal, and safety considerations. Where there is no opportunity to relocate, FEMA is required to undertake a detailed review to determine measures that can be taken to minimize future damage. The notice sets out four criteria that must be met to determine that there are no alternatives to restoration in the floodplain. The public is invited to participate in the process of identifying alternatives and analyzing their impacts.
    • Housing Individual Assistance (IA) actions may adversely affect a floodplain or wetland, or may result in continuing vulnerability to floods. Actions may include repair, restoration, or construction of housing, purchase and placement of travel trailers or manufactured housing units, or repair of structures as minimum protective measures. This is the only public notice concerning these actions.
    • The National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their actions on historic properties. Actions or activities affecting buildings, structures, districts, or objects 50 years or older or that affect archeological sites or undisturbed ground will require further review to determine whether the property is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (Register). If the property is determined to be eligible for the Register, and FEMA’s actions will adversely affect it, FEMA will provide additional notices. For historic properties not adversely affected by FEMA’s actions, this will be the only notice.

Local Perspective

  • County Buyout. The Harris County Commissioners Court voted to spend $20 million to purchase more than 200 homes damaged during Hurricane Harvey. Commissioners hope these funds will speed up the recovery process.