Disaster Housing Recovery Update, Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Congress

  • Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter on December 22, 2017 to HUD, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, urging them to extend the foreclosure moratorium an additional year for victims of Hurricane Maria in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The senators expressed concern that the foreclosure moratoriums could potentially expire before electricity and other services were fully restored. HUD’s moratorium is set to expire on March 18; and Fannie and Freddie’s, on March 31.
  • Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) on January 16 released her vision for a recovery plan to help Puerto Rico come back from last year’s hurricane season. Her plan includes five key principles: permanently address healthcare inequities, including addressing the Medicaid funding shortfall; rebuild a renewable, clean energy grid that withstands future hazards; invest in resilient homes and public buildings to reduce the loss of life and property from future disasters; provide Puerto Rico with tools to jumpstart the economy, including forgiving the territory’s debt and providing sufficient disaster funding; and, improve fiscal transparency and accountability for all stakeholders involved in recovery.

Government Accountability Office

  • A GAO report from December 2017 finds that FEMA’s incomplete and inaccurate data limits its ability to administer the Public Assistance (PA) appeals process. Applicants have two chances to appeal FEMA grant decisions, but the GAO analysis found that FEMA struggled to process those appeals within the 90-day limit. Only 9% of first appeals and 11% of second appeals were processed within this timeframe. FEMA concurred with all four GAO recommendations to improve this process.

 


CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

FEMA

By the Numbers: (as of 1/17)

  • 4,346 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $14,350,573 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $8,814,493 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $5,536,080 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed. 

 IA for Southern California. The Major Disaster Declaration for the wildfires, flooding, mudflows, and debris flows in Southern California has been amended to include Individual Assistance (IA) for Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura Counties. Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties were already eligible for Public Assistance (PA) through the original declaration.


HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

Puerto Rico

 By the Numbers: (as of 1/17)

  • 407,532 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $903,971,175 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $485,925,272 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $418,045,903 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $492,095,611 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.

Additional FEMA Numbers. FEMA data from January 7 indicates 15,448 Hurricane Maria survivors have left Puerto Rico for Florida and registered with FEMA. An additional 4,746 individuals are staying in 1,900 TSA eligible rooms.

Unemployment Assistance Extension. The deadline to file for Disaster Unemployment Assistance has been extended to February 9. This FEMA funded program provides unemployment benefits and re-employment services to individuals who became unemployed due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

U.S. Virgin Islands

By the Numbers: (as of 1/17)

  • 9,163 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $26,770,199 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $19,145,511 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $7,624,688 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $114,038,038 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $105,979,860 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.

Local Perspectives

Assistance in Florida. Governor Rick Scott of Florida and Governor Ricardo Rosselló have announced a $1 million investment in twelve Florida workforce development boards in an effort to assist families displaced by Hurricane Maria. Governor Scott also announced that FEMA agreed to provide case management services to Puerto Rican families in Florida, following his request. Additionally, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity sent letters to local housing authorities and community leaders to identify various resources and better coordinate assistance at all levels of government for Puerto Rican families.

Survey Request. Florida Prosperity Partnership and Consumer PR/FL are creating a one-stop web portal for Puerto Rican families in need of assistance. They are currently crowdsourcing Florida organizations offering services to Hurricane Maria survivors through an online survey.


HURRICANE IRMA

FEMA

Florida

By the Numbers: (as of 1/17)

  • 768,411 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $976,299,580 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $673,061,985 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $303,237,595 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $13,382,846 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $1,013,549 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

Amendment to Disaster Declaration. Survivors of Hurricane Irma in Hamilton County are now eligible to apply for Individual Assistance. The county was already designated for the Public Assistance program.

Georgia

By the Numbers: (as of 1/17)

  • 9,290 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $13,024,315 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $9,573,100 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $3,451,215 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $1,928,135 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $1,267,576 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) obligated**
  • $109,558 Permanent Work (Categories C-G) 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.

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (as of 1/17)

  • 1,254 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $2,809,955 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,418,393 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $1,391,562 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.

**Funds made available to the state via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

U.S. Virgin Islands

By the Numbers: (as of 1/17)

  • 7,371 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $25,714,353 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $19,772,233 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $5,942,121 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $4,429,729 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $4,407,184 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.


HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

Texas

By the Numbers: (as of 1/17)

  • 367,895 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,526,853,511 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,160,445,3353 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $366,408,176 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $504,353,860 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $440,685,269 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) obligated**
  • $730,466 Permanent Work (Categories C-G) 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.

TSA Extension. Eligible Hurricane Harvey survivors may receive an extension for the Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) program through March 12. Survivors will receive notification if they have continued eligibility and must complete a mid-term review on February 20.

Local Perspectives

Nueces County commissioners held a hearing with Kevin Hannes, FEMA’s federal coordinating officer for Hurricane Harvey in Texas, on January 3. Commissioners and residents expressed frustration with the recovery process, citing the application process, minimal funding, and lack of temporary housing options like FEMA trailers. Mr. Hannes stated he believed the recovery process was “the best recovery [he has] been a part of in the last 10 years.” When county commissioners told Mr. Hannes that residents were forced to live in tents, he responded, “Everybody in Port Aransas who is living in a tent is living there by choice.” 

 

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