Disaster Housing Recovery Update, Wednesday, November 29, 2017

CDBG-DR FOR FLORIDA

  • HUD Announces $616 Million CDBG-DR for Florida. On November 28, HUD announced that Florida would receive $615, 922,000 in CDBG-DR. This amount is based on data from FEMA and SBA on the number of seriously damaged homes that lack adequate insurance and businesses that fail to qualify for SBA disaster loans. The media release stated that additional grants to other jurisdictions impacted by disasters in 2017 will be announced as more data become available. $7.4 billion in CDBG-DR was appropriated for 2017 disasters; Texas was granted a little more than $5 billion (see the November 20 Disaster Housing Recovery Update). The Administration has only requested $12 billion more for CDBG-DR, only for flood mitigation to be awarded according to a competitive arrangement that seems to greatly favor Texas (see the November 20 Disaster Housing Recovery Update). HUD is expected to publish a Federal Register notice guiding the use of these CDBG-DR funds, perhaps next week.

CONGRESS

Bernie Sanders Recovery Proposal. Senator Bernie Sanders unveiled a $146 billion recovery plan to help rebuild Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The plan includes $62 billion to help the debt-ridden Puerto Rican government; $51 billion for economic development; $27 billion for infrastructure; and more for education and environmental remediation. This plan is far greater than the Trump administration’s, which designates very little of the total $29 billion for Puerto Rico. The bill prioritizes rebuilding the islands’ power grids for renewable energy.

A media release from Senator Sanders includes a summary and text of the bill. It also indicates that in addition to addressing debt relief and resilient and renewable energy, the bill would address Medicaid and Medicare parity, repair and rebuild VA hospitals, and improve childcare facilities and schools. The Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Equitable Rebuild Act is cosponsored in the Senate by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA) Ed Markey (D-MA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Reps. Stacy Plaskett (D-V.I.), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Darren Soto (D-Fla.) will introduce a companion bill in the House. The bill is endorsed by 75 organizations.


ANALYSIS OF PUERTO RICO FEMA DATA

NLIHC Analyzes FEMA Data for Puerto Rico. NLIHC has analyzed FEMA’s Individuals and Household Program data for Puerto Rico. The analysis covers both Hurricanes Irma and Maria and includes an interactive visualization. Unlike NLIHC’s previous analyses of Hurricane Harvey registrants in Texas and Hurricane Irma registrants in Florida, which showed a disproportionate share of renters over homeowners requesting assistance, the data from Puerto Rico show homeowners and renters are requesting assistance proportionate to their populations.

Registrants in Puerto Rico, however, generally are far more likely to have low incomes than registrants in Texas and Florida. FEMA’s IHP data do not include registrant incomes, but estimates of the income distribution of registrants can be made by assuming their incomes reflect the income distribution of their ZIP codes. Fifty-two percent of owner registrants and 77% of renter registrants in Puerto Rico have annual incomes less than $25,000. By comparison, 16% of owner registrants and 37% of renter registrants in Texas have incomes less than $25,000, and 20% of owner registrants and 40% of renter registrants in Florida earn less than $25,000. Furthermore, 21% of owner registrants and 46% of renter registrants in Puerto Rico have annual incomes of less than $10,000. In short, a substantial number of Puerto Rican registrants, particularly renters, live in deep poverty.


HUD MULTIFAMILY UPDATE

  • HUD Multifamily Update. HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing continued its practice of providing periodic updates on the status of private, HUD-assisted housing in the disaster areas. For Texas, Florida, and Georgia HUD has completed its assessment of all private, HUD-assisted properties and is now in the recovery phase. HUD reports:
    • Texas: 51% of private, HUD-assisted properties had no damage, 36% had minor damage, 4.6% had moderate damage, and HUD could not assess 8% of the properties.
    • Florida: 30% had no damage, 55% had minor damage, 10% had moderate damage, 1% had severe damage, and HUD could not assess 1% of the properties.
    • Georgia: 77% had no damage, 11% had minor damage, 3% had moderate damage, and HUD could not assess 8% of the properties.

For Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, HUD is still in the assessment phase, which has two components: 1) preliminary assessments based on telephone conversations, and 2) on-site assessments. The on-site assessments are just beginning. Three HUD Multifamily damage assessment teams deployed to Puerto Rico on Sunday to begin assessing the damage at private, HUD-assisted properties; another four teams will deploy next Sunday. One team will deploy for the Virgin Islands on December 10. Based on the telephone assessments:

  • Puerto Rico: 1% of the private, HUD-assisted properties had no damage, 45% had minor damage, 47% had moderate damage, and 5% had severe damage.
  • Virgin Islands: 5% had no damage, 29% had minor damage, 23% had moderate damage, and 41% had severe damage.

For the California wildfires, HUD’s Multifamily office has completed all preliminary assessments and reports that 4% of the private, HUD-assisted properties had minor, smoke damage.

HUD will continue to make Section 8 payments to the owners of the HUD-assisted housing through January. Most properties were able to submit electronic requests for subsidy reimbursement for November, despite the spotty availability of electricity. For properties unable to electronically submit for reimbursement, HUD urges owners to contact the Field Office or Headquarters so that the owners can complete paper reimbursement forms.


TEXAS HOUSERS

Texas Housers Job Opportunity. Texas Housers is seeking a fair housing, community development, and environmental justice co-director to lead their new South Texas regional office.


CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

FEMA

By the Numbers: (as of 11/28)

  • 4,141 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $12,097,480 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $7,662,944 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $4,434,536 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • Amendment Number 7. The notice of a major disaster declaration was amended to include permanent work under the Public Assistance program (Categories C-G).

Local Perspective

  • Resource for Undocumented Immigrants. Farmworkers, particularly undocumented workers, have been hit particularly hard by the recent wildfires. An estimated 38,500 undocumented immigrants live in Sonoma County and were facing a plethora of other struggles even before the fires. Many undocumented workers affected by the fires do not apply for FEMA assistance, fearing that their information will be shared with immigration agents or because they lack required identification to cash a check. Local groups started UndocuFund to help provide relief specifically for undocumented residents.

HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (as of 11/28)

  • 244,655 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $199,407,780 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $93,581,053 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $105,826,727 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $446,886,960 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 11/28)

  • 5,169 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $10,948,799 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $8,956,266 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $1,992,533 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $105,405,081 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

HURRICANE IRMA

FEMA

Florida

By the Numbers: (as of 11/28)

  • 749,430 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $934,781,274 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $643,059,493 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $291,721,781 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 11/28)

  • 9,051 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $12,480,844 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $9,151,261 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $3,329,582 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $585,260 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $34,259 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)

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

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (as of 11/28)

  • 1,079 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $2,338,657 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,181,280 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $1,157,378 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $2,871,448 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 11/28)

  • 5,924 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $14,292,960 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $11,790,109 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $2,502,850 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $4,133,931 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

Local Perspectives

  • Keys Housing Recovery. On Wednesday, November 29, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners will be holding a meeting to discuss housing recovery strategies. The meeting will present on the structural damage in the Keys as well as discuss the Monroe County Housing Strategy Document and potential comprehensive recovery plans. A full agenda found here.
  •  D-SNAP by Phone. The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) can now conduct phone interviews for D-SNAP with senior applicants and applicants with disabilities. The new policy comes after a federal lawsuit claiming that the DCF had not made proper accommodations for those with disabilities. If an applicant registered online before November 9, they can be interviewed by phone to receive benefits. For background, see the November 9 Disaster Housing Recovery Update.

HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

Texas

By the Numbers: (as of 11/28)

  • 355,209 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,431,564,272 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,109,988,633 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $321,575,639 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $497,724,109 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $434,785,984 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 Perspective

Effects on People with HIV. The flooding from Hurricane Harvey has caused additional hardship for those with HIV. Some people lost their medicine in the flooding and were unable to refill prescriptions for weeks while they waited for pharmacies and clinics to reopen. Others were unable to obtain their medicine in other states after evacuating their flooded homes. Those with HIV have high risks of infection from weakened immune systems, so many are worried about potential contaminants in the flood waters.

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