Disaster Housing Recovery Update, Thursday, November 9, 2017

GENERAL UPDATES

  • NLIHC Analysis of Florida FEMA Hurricane Assistance Registrations. FEMA recently released data about registrations for assistance from its Individuals and Households Program (IHP) after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The data provide a summary of the number and ownership status of registrants, extent of damage, and the dollar amounts approved for assistance. Like NLIHC’s previous analysis of Hurricane Harvey registrants in Texas, the data from Florida show that renters are disproportionately represented among registrants, and households with limited financial resources may face greater difficulty in planning for, coping with, and recovering from disaster. IHP provides approved registrants with assistance for rent, home repair (for homeowners), or other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical care, transportation, storage, or essential household items.
  • FHFA Allows Pause on Mortgage Payments. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have allowed homeowners with mortgages owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in the disaster areas to temporarily stop making monthly mortgage payments in three-month intervals for up to 12 months. In addition, when there was a temporary stop, homeowners were not assessed late fees, did not have the temporary hold reported to credit bureaus, and did not have to catch up on all payments at once. In response to a letter from 15 advocacy organizations, the Federal Housing Finance Agency is now encouraging mortgage servicers that they can tack on the missed payments during the pause at the end of the mortgage period. Fannie Mae’s Lender Letter LL-2017-09 introduces the Extend Modification for Disaster Relief (Extend Mod) and provides additional guidance.
  • VOA’s Project Esperanza Assisting People in Puerto Rico. In an effort to help the people of Puerto Rico recover from the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Volunteers of America (VOA) staff have been traveling in shifts to Puerto Rico to stay for approximately one week to organize and distribute water and other supplies donated by generous supporters. There is a great need for basic supplies such as diapers, over-the-counter medicines, tooth paste and soap, etc. Donations to Project Esperanza are needed to purchase and transport such basic daily necessities.
  • Four Job Opportunities with Texas Housers. Texas Housers is looking for four talented and dedicated people to work for housing justice. The four positions are:

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES 

FEMA

By the Numbers: (as of 11/9)

  • 3,859 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $9,673,930 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $6,332,234 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $3,341,696 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • TSA Participants: (as of 11/2)
  • 573 checked in

HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA 

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (as of 11/9)

  • 225,519 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $125,396,142 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $20,961,970 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $104,434,172 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $426,489,708 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 11/2)

  • 792,757 referrals
  • 537,851 pending applications
  • 1,297 withdrawn
  • 10,014 ineligible

U.S. Virgin Islands  

By the Numbers: (as of 11/9)

  • 3,107 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $3,038,106 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,200,849 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $1,837,257 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $10,912,004 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 11/2)

  • 15,859 referrals
  • 11,556 pending applications
  • 73 withdrawn
  • 536 ineligible

Local Perspective

Florida Governor Increases Coordination to Assist Puerto Ricans with TSA. Florida Governor Rick Scott directed the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) to activate the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to Level 2. This activated the State Emergency Response Team (SERT) to enhance coordination between federal, state, and local emergency management agencies. The action was in response to FEMA offering Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) to Puerto Rican families in Florida. Florida had already been approved as a FEMA Host State on October 5, to coordinate delivery of resources at the Miami and Orlando international airport Disaster Relief Centers in order to assist more families with services such as crisis counseling, educational resources, job placement services, medical services, and to help people obtain housing and drivers licenses.


HURRICANE IRMA 

FEMA 

Florida

By the Numbers: (as of 11/9)

  • 736,199 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $899,739,894 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $618,077,080 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $281,662,813 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

Individual Assistance Numbers: (as of 11/2)

  • 1,885,007 referrals
  • 273,386 pending applications
  • 85,121 withdrawn
  • 513,671 ineligible
  • 20,417 participants in TSA

Georgia 

By the Numbers: (as of 11/9)

  • 8,925 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $12,048,281 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $8,777,267 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $3,271,014 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $26,488 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 11/2)

  • 27,005 referrals
  • 5,093 pending applications
  • 1,822 withdrawn
  • 8,151 ineligible

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (as of 11/9)

  • 859 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,917,498 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,002,435 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $915,064 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $1,316,250 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated, all for emergency work (Categories A-B)**

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

Individual Assistance Numbers: (as of 11/2)

  • 3,312 referrals
  • 1,411 pending applications
  • 117 withdrawn
  • 861 ineligible

U.S. Virgin Islands

 By the Numbers: (as of 11/9)

  • 3,886 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $5,888,156 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $3,686,640 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $2,201,516 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $25,567,068 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 11/2)

  • 11,821 referrals
  • 6,292 pending applications
  • 145 withdrawn
  • 984 ineligible

Seminole Tribe of Florida

By the Numbers: (as of 11/9)

  • 2 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $2,542 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $2,542 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed. 

Local Perspective

Law Clinic Sues for D-SNAP Disability Accommodations. Florida residents seeking Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) have endured extremely long lines and prematurely closed application sites. Last week, the University of Miami Health Rights Clinic sued Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) for not adequately providing for people with disabilities. Advocates repeatedly requested DCF seek a waiver from USDA to allow elderly or disabled people to apply by telephone. 


HURRICANE HARVEY 

FEMA

Texas

By the Numbers: (as of 11/9)

  • 347,474 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,364,272,504 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,061,580,371 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $302,692,133 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $478,212,770 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $415,274,645 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 11/2)

  • 730,699 referrals
  • 44,551 pending applications
  • 45,842 withdrawn
  • 249,241 ineligible
  • 52,050 participants in TSA

Local Perspectives

Advocates Press for Fair Housing Action. The Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (TxLIHIS) sent a letter to HUD on October 31 demanding HUD take immediate action to examine the validity of current civil rights certifications made by the City of Houston and the Houston Housing Authority (HHA). On January 11, 2017, HUD determined that the City violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, citing evidence of intentional racial discrimination and perpetuation of segregation. The TxLIHIS letter presents additional evidence to support HUD’s obligation to reject the City’s and HHA’s subsequent certifications that they are complying with not only Title VI, but also the Fair Housing Act and Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974.

Since HUD’s January determination, HUD has failed to deliver a draft Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) to outline a path for the City to voluntarily comply. TxLIHS wrote that if HUD provides a VCA by November 15, TxLIHIS will not sue HUD. In addition, HUD and the City must demonstrate concrete progress toward concluding a VCA by November 30. If HUD and Houston do not take corrective action, any CDBG-DR Houston might receive, as well as its regular annual Entitlement CDBG allocations and other HUD financial assistance might be at risk.

TxLIHS asserts that any VCA should address all issues identified in HUD’s January letter. A VCA must also include training of elected and appointed officials on addressing and resisting discriminatory community opposition to the siting of affordable housing. A VCA must identify areas of segregation and outline remedial steps, including a robust housing mobility program that provides incentives to owners to accept Housing Choice Vouchers in all parts of Houston. A VCA must also identify additional actions that will remediate the City’s practices with respect to siting of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) housing, and require incentives for developers to ensure that any newly constructed LIHTC housing is located in Census tracts with a poverty rate less than 20%.

State Funds for Debris Removal. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas House and Senate leaders announced the approval of $90 million in emergency funding for debris removal caused by Hurricane Harvey. Although FEMA provides federal financial assistance for debris removal, city and county governments are still responsible for 10% of those associated costs. This allocation at the state level will help ease the financial burden for local governments.

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