Disaster Housing Recovery Update, Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Congress

Senate Passes Latest Emergency Spending Bill. The Senate gave final approval to a $36.5 billion emergency spending plan to pay for ongoing relief from recent natural disasters. The deal includes $18.7 billion for FEMA’s response to natural disasters including Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as the California wildfires. Also in the package is a $16 billion increase in the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) borrowing limit; $576.5 million to address wildfires in the West; and $1.2 billion for nutrition assistance programs that will provide low income Puerto Rican residents relief. The Senate voted 82 to 17 to approve the spending plan, which now requires President Trump’s signature. The House overwhelmingly approved the emergency spending bill on October 12.

Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) sought additional funding for Florida’s distressed citrus industry and for housing needs in Florida; Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) sought more funding for Texas communities affected by Hurricane Harvey. They initially threatened to hold up the vote, but relented when given assurances by the Trump administration that Texas’s and Florida’s concerns would be addressed in the next funding request. Despite those assurances, Senator Cornyn is blocking a vote to confirm the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget to use as leverage for a commitment for additional disaster recovery and rebuilding funding.

The Administration and Congress want to pass a third disaster spending bill before the end of the year. But for the next disaster spending bill, OMB may urge Congress to provide spending offsets for any new disaster recovery or rebuilding funding. This will make passage of the third bill much more difficult.

USDA Rural Development

Foreclosure Moratoriums Extended for Areas Impacted by the Hurricanes. USDA’s Rural Development (RD) is extending the moratoriums on property foreclosures in the Presidentially Declared Disaster (PDD) areas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The foreclosure moratoriums will be extended until February 21, 2018, for Hurricane Harvey, March 9, 2018, for Hurricane Irma, and March 19, 2018, for Hurricane Maria. These extensions apply to new foreclosures as well as foreclosures already initiated. RD guidance outlined in “Assistance in Natural Disasters” and located in Chapter 18, Section 4, 7 CFR 3555.307 of the SFHGLP Handbook requires an initial moratorium on foreclosure actions within a PDD for 90 days following the date of each PDD declaration. Contact the USDA Rural Development Customer Service Center at (866) 550-5887 or the National Office at (202) 720-1452.


CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/24)

  • 9 wildfires, projected to be fully contained by the end of the week
  • 245,000 acres burned
  • 8,400 structures destroyed

FEMA

By the Numbers: (as of 10/24)

  • 185 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $874,378 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $700,502 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $173,875 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

 *Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.


HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

 Puerto Rico

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/24)

  • 221,862 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $120,085,594 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $16,803,682 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $103,281,912 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $376,414,826 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated all 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.

Individual Assistance Numbers: (as of 10/16)

  • 375,264 referrals
  • 246,387 pending applications
  • 31 withdrawn
  • 13,296 ineligible

Important Documents for Tenants and Landlords. FEMA rental assistance helps pay the cost of lodging, but certain documentation will help protect landlords and tenants if any disputes should arrive. First, a valid lease agreement is needed. The lease can be handwritten, typed, or printed. Second, all receipts for rental payments should be kept.

U.S. Virgin Islands

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/24)

  • 2,701 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,808,966 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $376,296 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $1,432,669 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $13,010,427 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated, all 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.

Individual Assistance Numbers: (as of 10/16)

  • 8,788 referrals
  • 6,393 pending applications
  • 2 withdrawn
  • 513 ineligible

Local Perspective

Volunteers of America (VOA) sent their first teams into Puerto Rico to assess needs among public and subsidized housing developments. The teams are finding the needs are severe and urgent because conditions are even more dire than expected. VOA reports that seniors in subsidized developments have little or no food and water, with some receiving one meal a day while others are receiving none. Many have only wet clothing and mattresses and are suffering from the trauma of the hurricane.  Many of the seniors have chronic health conditions, mainly diabetes and high blood pressure, and haven’t been able to see a doctor or obtain insulin or other medications. Personal hygiene products, such as soap, toothpaste, etc. are hard to come by, and when they can be obtained, prices have risen 400%. Shockingly, these are the conditions in metro San Juan – the VOA teams will be moving out towards more rural areas soon, where the needs are likely even more extreme.


HURRICANE IRMA

FEMA

Florida

By the Numbers: (as of 10/24)

  • 704,337 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $817,704,910 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $556,793,750 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $260,911,160 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

Individual Assistance Numbers: (as of 10/16)

  • 1,799,790 referrals
  • 697,467 pending applications
  • 23,922 withdrawn
  • 431,760 ineligible

Georgia

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/24)

  • 8,433 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $10,912,139 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $7,847,564 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $3,064,575 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

Individual Assistance Numbers: (as of 10/16)

  • 26,420 referrals
  • 12,766 pending applications
  • 437 withdrawn
  • 5,727 ineligible

Puerto Rico

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/24)

  • 630 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,480,605 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $801,517 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $679,088 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

Individual Assistance Numbers: (as of 10/16)

  • 2,262 referrals
  • 1,263 pending applications
  • 35 withdrawn
  • 446 ineligible

U.S. Virgin Islands

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/24)

  • 3,088 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $3,268,120 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,549,282 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $1,718,837 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $25,056,945 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated all for emergency work (Categories A-B)**

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

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

Individual Assistance Numbers: (as of 10/16)

  • 8,351 referrals
  • 5,308 pending applications
  • 22 withdrawn
  • 762 ineligible

HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

Texas

By the Numbers: (as of 10/24)

  • 337,354 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,274,291,102 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $994,266,951 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $280,024,150 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $465,230,373 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $402,292,248 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) obligated**

*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.

Individual Assistance Numbers: (as of 10/16)

  • 718,566 referrals
  • 140,080 pending applications
  • 37,192 withdrawn
  • 231,319 ineligible

Local Perspectives

Inequitable Recovery. Although Hurricane Harvey affected people in Houston of every income level, ensuring an equitable recovery in a highly income-segregated city will require intentional policies. Families may have found temporary solutions, like staying with a relative or friend, but their schedules prohibit much time from searching for long-term housing or filing an appeal for FEMA aid. An estimated 45% of affected Houston households earned less than $50,000.

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