Disaster Housing Recovery Update, Thursday, November 30, 2017

CONGRESS

  • FEMA Funding Hearing. The Subcommittee on Homeland Security for the House Appropriations Committee held an oversight hearing regarding FEMA supplemental appropriations. FEMA Administrator Brock Long was the sole witness. Mr. Long answered questions regarding FEMA’s response to the recent disasters as well as the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)’s new request for additional disaster supplemental funding. In his opening remarks, Representative John Culberson (R-TX) criticized the OMB’s request, calling it “deeply upsetting” for not including funds to address “the largest housing disaster in the history of the United States of America.” Mr. Long acknowledged that “housing is going to be the most difficult mission.” Representative David Price (D-NC) asked Mr. Long why FEMA had not yet made an agreement with HUD to administer the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP), which has been used after several disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and Super Storm Sandy. Mr. Long did not directly address the use of DHAP, but did say he was in daily conversations with HUD. He held up Texas and the state General Land Office as a model of disaster housing recovery. He also explained that the current OMB request does not include funding for California because money from the normal appropriations for FEMA’s disaster relief fund should cover the costs. If needs continue to be unmet, he will request more funding to ensure communities are able to recover.

USDA

  • Restoration of Water Systems. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the award of two $500,000 grants to restore water systems damaged by recent disasters. The National Rural Water Association (NRWA) and the Rural Communities Assistance Partnership (RCAP) will use the grants to provide training, technical assistance, onsite repairs, and utility management advice for utilities serving 10,000 people or less. Grant money will also help rural utilities apply for FEMA assistance and increase resiliency against future disasters.

JOB OPPORTUNITY

  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is looking for a Disaster Recovery/Resiliency Manager based in Houston to help LISC Houston affiliates conduct outreach to residents in affected areas and connect them with public and private services and financial support; conduct community assessments; strengthen partnerships with local government agencies, federal agencies, and other first responders and service delivery agencies; and address housing and other community needs. The job description is here.

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

FEMA

By the Numbers: (as of 11/30)

  • 4,159 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $12,270,756 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $7,758,009 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $4,512,747 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.


HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (as of 11/30)

  • 251,831 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $230,910,923 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $123,615,211 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $107,295,712 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 11/30)

  • 5,686 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $12,367,125 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $10,292,815 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $2,074,310 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

Local Perspectives

  • Florida Resources. Florida Governor Rick Scott issued updates on resources Florida has devoted to aid in Puerto Rico’s recovery following Hurricane Maria. Resources include centers to help evacuees from Puerto Rico register for federal assistance and find local support. The Florida state government is also exploring what resources they can send to Puerto Rico.
  • Puerto Ricans in Florida Schools. Since Maria, more than 7,200 students from Puerto Rico have enrolled in Florida’s K-12 public schools and another 800 in state colleges. Education leaders said a lack of affordable housing is presenting challenges for those who have been displaced.
  • Tarp and Sheeting Contract. Following Hurricane Maria, FEMA signed a contract worth $30 million with a newly created company based out of Florida, Bronze Star LLC, to provide emergency tarps and sheeting for damaged homes in Puerto Rico. Those supplies were never delivered, prompting FEMA to terminate the contract. The owners of Bronze Star say that they were unable to obtain the tarps because most of the raw materials came out of Houston, which was dealing with response to Hurricane Harvey. FEMA has signed a new contract with OSC Solutions, Inc., which has about two decades of federal contracting experience, and tarps should now be available.
  • Poverty Rate Increase. A recent study from the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey found that poverty on the island has increased from 44.3% to 52.3% following Hurricane Maria, an increase of 8%.

HURRICANE IRMA

FEMA

Florida

By the Numbers: (as of 11/30)

  • 750,164 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $938,077,430 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $645,903,847 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $292,173,583 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 11/30)

  • 9,066 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $12,528,498 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $9,197,565 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $3,330,933 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 11/30)

  • 1,108 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $2,388,541 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,226,910 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $1,161,631 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 11/30)

  • 6,069 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $14,838,125 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $12,286,443 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $2,551,682 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

HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

Texas

By the Numbers: (as of 11/30)

  • 355,873 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,438,307,886 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,114,329,064 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $323,978,822 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.

  • Nearly 400 Households in Travel Trailers. FEMA reports that 394 households have been placed n travel trailers through the “direct housing” program administered by the Texas General Land Office (GLO). Another 446 units are ready for occupancy and 531 additional units are ready for electric hookup.

 

  • 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

  • Recovery Complications. During a roundtable discussion with local leaders on Tuesday, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said that efforts to move survivors into temporary housing were complicated by the availability and price of temporary housing units. Officials also expressed apprehension regarding preparedness for future storms since the approval process for mitigation can sometimes take years.
  • Lone Star Legal Aid Awarded $300,000. Lone Star Legal Aid received a $300,000 grant as part of the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, administered through the Greater Houston Community Fund. Lone Star Legal Aid was chosen as one of the ninety local nonprofit organizations that will provide services to Houston and Harris County flood victims. The grant will support the addition of staff to Lone Star Legal Aid’s disaster relief team. These new staff members will assist in the short- and long-term legal issues survivors will face, including relocation and transitional housing, home repair scams, insurance claims and appeals, property rights, title-clearing, property related probate and tax problems, and a large number of FEMA appeals.
  • Houston Housing Authority. Tory Gunsolley, CEO and president of the Houston Housing Authority (HHA), published an opinion piece in the Houston Chronicle that explains the extent of the affordable housing crisis following Harvey. The majority of HHA properties were damaged following Harvey, and Mr. Gunsolley promises to replace and expand affordable housing in the area.

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