Disaster Housing Recovery Update, Friday, October 27, 2017

FEMA

  • FEMA Data Released. FEMA released data on the number of owners and renters that have applied for their Housing Assistance Program. The data show the number of applicants, county, zip code, severity of damage, and whether the applicant is an owner or renter. The NLIHC research team is currently examining the data. The excel sheet includes data for all disasters from the last several years. Renter data for Hurricane Harvey in Texas (DR- 4332), for example, starts on line 7473. Data input is ongoing.
  • Summary of Known FEMA Application Deadlines. NLIHC has compiled a summary of known application deadlines, presenting deadlines by program type, such as Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA), Individual Assistance (IA), SBA Low Interest Loans, etc. It is still unclear when the deadline to apply for IA is for Puerto Rico. NLIHC has inquired through a congressional office and will share an update when one is available.

HUD

Decision Regarding Section 8 Anticipated Soon. According to HUD, an update is anticipated Tuesday regarding the issue of possibly suspending Section 8 project-based subsidies for privately owned, HUD-assisted properties because they lack electricity (and therefore do not meet Housing Quality Standards).

Congress

Congress has begun working on a third disaster supplemental spending bill. Administration agencies are gathering and submitting to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requests for disaster recovery and rebuilding, and Congressional delegations from impacted communities are pulling together their requests. OMB is expected to make its official request to Congress within the next two weeks.


CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

FEMA

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/27)

  • 3,358 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $4,762,378 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $2,717,701 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $2,044677 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

California Department of Housing and Community Development

  • HCD Announces FEMA Seeks Direct Lease and Multi-Family Lease and Repair Applicants. California’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) made two announcements.
    • The first announced that FEMA is seeking contractor support to provide temporary housing to eligible Individual Assistance (IA)/Individuals and Households Program (IHP) applicants who are eligible for housing assistance while displaced from their primary residences as a result of California wildfires. The lease may be up to 18 months from the date of the Presidentially-declared disaster and possibly longer. The contractor will be directly reimbursed for the housing by FEMA on an agreed upon payment schedule.
  • The Second announced that FEMA is seeking property owners to participate in the Multi-Family Lease and Repair (MLR) program. Multiple firm-fixed-priced contracts may be awarded to provide housing assistance to families affected by the California wildfires. Under MLR, FEMA is seeking potential owners of rental properties (apartment complexes primarily) that, with financial assistance, could be quickly repaired to local, state, and federal codes/standards and offered as temporary housing for FEMA applicants. The properties should be complexes that are able to accommodate a considerable number of people in a single location. Each property must have been previously used as a multi-family housing complex and contain three or more rental units. The site must be repairable within a four-month period and cannot be located in a Floodway, Coastal High Hazard Area, or Coastal Barrier Resource Unit. Within this program, there is no rental cost for the eligible applicant. The repair costs are funded by FEMA and the value of these repairs are deducted from the value of the lease agreement between FEMA and the property owner.

USDA

USDA Announces Resources Available. USDA announced that it is making resources available to help rural people and communities recover from the effects of California wildfires. As with the other disaster declarations, USDA provides links to information about its various programs. Existing USDA Rural Development home loan borrowers may qualify for assistance with their loan payments.

Housing Assistance Council

Special Supplement to HAC Rural Housing Disaster Guide. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) issued a special supplement to its guide, Picking Up the Pieces: Restoring Rural Housing and Communities After a Disaster, focusing on the 2017 California wildfires.


HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (as of 10/27)

  • 223,514 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $121,596,425 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $18,012,750 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $103,583,675 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $402,891,710 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

Schools Reopening. More than a month after Hurricane Maria hit the island, schools in the Mayaguez and San Juan regions reopened today. 143 schools have resumed classes, and students from the 24 schools that are not opening will be relocated to other schools in the area.

USDA

  • Puerto Rican Children to Receive Free School Meals. All students will receive free meals through the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP), as will participants in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), through December 31. This will potentially benefit more than 1,550 schools and 450,000 children.

U.S. Virgin Islands

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/27)

  • 2,756 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $2,038,580 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $485,763 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $1,552,817 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $13,010,427 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated as of 10/24, 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

FEMA Can Pay for Non-Disaster Related Repairs. Owners of multi-family dwellings that need repairs who are willing to lease to eligible FEMA hurricane survivors may apply for the Multi-Family Lease and Repair Program (MLRP). The repairs or improvements do not need to be hurricane- or flood-related. The property must have three or more units and the unit must have been previously used as a rental unit. FEMA requires a lease of exclusive use of the property as temporary housing for a period of at least 18 months.

Local Perspective

Inequities in Recovery. While wealthier Puerto Rican residents are able to use generators, stay at luxury hotels, or leave the island altogether, the majority of the island still remains without power or access to communications systems. Puerto Rico was already struggling before the storm, and 40% of the population lived below the poverty line. Life for low-income families is only becoming more difficult during the slow recovery process.


HURRICANE IRMA

FEMA

Florida

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/27)

  • 711,244 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $836,578,702 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $570,775,673 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $265,803,030 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 10/27)

  • 8,603 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $11,330,870 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $8,183,039 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $3,147,831 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

Free Legal Assistance. Survivors of a presidentially declared major disaster like Hurricane Irma can receive free legal help if they are unable to pay. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, through an agreement with the Georgia Legal Services Program, Atlanta Legal Aid, and the Georgia Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association provides free legal help. People may request assistance by calling 866-584-8027 or 404-526-8793, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Puerto Rico

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/27)

  • 692 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,607,262 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $856,294 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $793,968 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 10/27)

  • 3,331 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $4,187381 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $2,196,951 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $1,990,430 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $25,056,945 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated as of 10/25, 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)

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

HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

Texas

By the Numbers: (as of 10/27)

  • 339,224 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,293,091,708 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,000,519,220 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $283,572,488 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $472,639,716 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA)**
  • $409,701,591 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

  • Grant for Legal Services Awarded. The Texas Bar Foundation awarded Lone Star Legal Aid a one year grant of $76,854 to support LSLA’s efforts provide legal services for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. The grant will support an attorney at their Beaumont offices to focus on survivors’ legal issues such as FEMA appeals, evictions and lease terminations, and other short and long-term issues. In announcing receipt of the award, LSLA noted that as part of LSLA’s representation of tenants who survived Hurricane Harvey in this region, three temporary restraining orders have been granted against landlords attempting to evict tenants, which resulted in tenants having time to retrieve their personal belongings from damaged apartments. Also, with so many individuals and families having lost their homes, the City of Port Arthur has resorted to the creation of a military-style tent city in order to house residents.
  • Youth in Juvenile Justice System. Because of Hurricane Harvey, many youth in Harris County’s juvenile justice system are dealing with homelessness and separation from family on top of following probation orders and attending hearings. The county Juvenile Probation Department referred 65 children impacted by the storm to the local nonprofit reVision for additional assistance. Probation officers and judges have also been more lenient in light of the additional hardships.

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