Disaster Housing Recovery Update, Friday, December 22, 2017

  • Despite the admonitions of senators from disaster-affected states, a third disaster aid supplemental installment was not attached to the continuing resolution Congress passed last night to keep the government open through January 19.  The House’s $81 billion disaster supplemental proposal is not looking at an easy ride in the Senate.  There are Democrats and Republicans who take issue with it, starting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who, in his floor remarks, called the House aid package “an unacceptable disaster supplemental, which still does not treat fairly California, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”  And then there are the objections from Republican conservatives, who don’t much like the size of the disaster bill—wondering aloud why there is no offset to pay for disaster relief with spending cuts to other domestic programs.  Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) said, “We’ll take it up and pass it when we can,” characterizing an attempt at putting together a vote this week as “complicated.”

 

  • Yesterday the NLIHC sent a letter on behalf of the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition to the leaders of the Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate.  After expressing appreciation for the House disaster relief bill, the letter honed in on its request for improvements through provisions to help the most vulnerable survivors of recent hurricanes and wildfires.  An emphasis was placed on amending the bill to fund the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) as well as require federal agencies to collect and publicly share data to ensure funds equitably address the housing and infrastructure needs of low income people and communities.  The letter also asked for a commitment of housing investments for the national Housing Trust Fund, Low Income Housing Tax Credit, HOME funding, and New Markets Tax Credits—all within the DRHC’s priorities to ensure affordable housing for the nation’s lowest income people.

 

  • NLIHC filed a press statement on Thursday sharing similar sentiments on the improvements needed as the disaster relief bill moves forward to the Senate in January.  “Congress has an important role to play to ensure that all disaster survivors – including people with the lowest incomes – get the help they need for a full recovery, starting with an affordable place to call home,” stated NLIHC president and CEO Diane Yentel.

 

  • The Austin American-Statesman has published an Op. Ed. submitted by Texas Housers, together with leaders from Houston Rising.  The editorial raises the need for the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) to be implemented in Texas and will run in the newspaper’s Sunday print edition.

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