Disaster Housing Recovery Update, Wednesday, January 31, 2018

General Updates

State of the Union. Last night, President Trump gave his first State of the Union Address. Several members of Congress tried to highlight Puerto Rico’s continuing struggle with recovery by bringing Hurricane Maria survivors as their guests. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) brought Omar Miguel Nieves Delgado, a 33-year-old dancer who left San Juan for Queens following Hurricane Maria. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) invited San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz as her guest.  During his address, the president failed to outline his plan to address one of the most pressing challenges facing low income survivors of the recent hurricanes and wildfires: the need for longer term, stable, safe places in which to live while they get back on their feet. President Trump addressed disaster victims by saying “we love you,” instead of offering solutions to provide survivors of 2017’s hurricanes and wildfires with affordable housing. It has been five months since the first hurricane made landfall, and the Trump administration has still not taken steps to stand up the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) to help the lowest income families find longer-term housing solutions, secure employment, and connect to public benefits as they rebuild their lives. Without DHAP, tens of thousands of families are still living in hotels through FEMA’s Transitional Shelter Assistance program and low income families that have been shut out of the hotel program have had no choice but to move into uninhabitable or overcrowded homes, stay at shelters, or sleep in cars or on the streets. Read NLIHC’s full statement of the State of the Union address here.

Ending FEMA Assistance. Although a third of Puerto Rico residents still lack electricity and, in some cases, running water, FEMA announced on January 30 that it would end emergency food and potable water shipments the following day, Wednesday, January 31. However, the agency reversed its decision today. FEMA had originally supported their decision to end shipments with internal estimates showing that only about 1 percent of islanders still needed emergency food and water. In the town of Morovis, however, Mayor Carmen Maldonado reports that a third of the town’s residents still receive FEMA rations.  The government of Puerto Rico released a statement that it was unaware shipments of food and water would end so soon.  The reversal follows outcry from members of Congress and officials in Puerto Rico. On the Senate floor on Tuesday, January 30, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) stated he was “absolutely shocked” by FEMA’s decision, which he called “unconscionable and a travesty.” He urged the Administration to reverse the decision, stating, “FEMA needs to continue to provide food and water to the island until, at the very least, all of the island has access to potable water and electricity.” He and fellow Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) also urged the Senate to pass much-needed disaster aid, which the House passed in December 2017. Other members of Congress, including Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), also denounced FEMA’s decision.

Bill to Help Small Businesses. The Small Business Access to Capital After a Natural Disaster Act (HR 4792) passed the House by voice vote on January 29. The bill expands existing provisions for small businesses in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 that will provide additional resources for small businesses affected by natural disasters. Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), the sponsor of the bill, stated, “FEMA estimates that nearly 40 percent of small businesses never reopen after a disaster. Therefore, developing strategies to drive private capital to a community’s small business is one of the most efficient uses of private sector capital and one of the most effective ways we in the federal government can help an area recover.”


CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

FEMA

October Wildfires

By the Numbers: (as of 1/31)

  • 4,383 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $14,786,603 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $9,049,943 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $5,736,659 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed. 

December Wildfires, Flooding, Mudflows, and Debris Flows

By the Numbers: (as of 1/31)

  • 423 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,970,819 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,735,196 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $235,623 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed. 


HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (as of 1/31)

  • 418,744 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $968,878,473 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $525,226,664 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $443,651,810 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $508,309,141 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 1/31)

  • 9,728 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $30,679,060 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $20,720,428 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $9,958,632 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $235,570,751 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $227,503,662 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) obligated**
  • $653,541 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.

Houses of Worship. Private nonprofit houses of worship can apply for Public Assistance (PA) through February 16. FEMA changed the policy regarding PA eligibility on January 2, so the deadline has been extended to allow these organizations to apply.

Local Perspectives

Puerto Rico Debt. Puerto Rico officials estimate that the damage wrought by Hurricane Maria will prevent them from paying down any of their debt for the next five years. The Puerto Rico government currently owes more than $70 billion.


HURRICANE IRMA

FEMA

Florida

By the Numbers: (as of 1/31)

  • 770,337 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $982,981,726 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $678,740,213 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $304,241,512 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $14,018,031 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $1,603,946 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) obligated**
  • $44,787 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

Houses of Worship. Private nonprofit houses of worship can apply for Public Assistance (PA) through February 15. FEMA changed the policy regarding PA eligibility on January 2, so the deadline has been extended to allow these organizations to apply.

Georgia

By the Numbers: (as of 1/31)

  • 9,332 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $13,205,095 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $9,732,998 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $3,472,097 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $2,224,357 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $1,528,461 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) obligated**
  • $144,895 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 1/31)

  • 1,273 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $2,939,940 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,521,361 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $1,418,580 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $3,891,330 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 1/31)

  • 7,994 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $29,914,968 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $21,314,059 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $8,600,909 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.

Local Perspectives

FL Hardest Hit Fund. Applications for the Florida Hardest-Hit Fund Unemployment Mortgage Assistance, Mortgage Loan Reinstatement Payment, and Principal Reduction programs are due on January 31. These funds are part of the Department of Treasury’s Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Innovation Fund for the Hardest-Hit Housing Markets, which provides funding to states hardest hit during the housing crisis.

Case Management Grants. Volunteer Florida is accepting applications for the provision of disaster case management services to support Hurricane Irma recovery. The $27 million in grant funding comes from FEMA to help local organizations work with survivors to develop individual disaster recovery plans. Disaster case management simplifies the recovery process by providing survivors with a single point of contact. Applications are due February 16.


HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

Texas

By the Numbers: (as of 1/31)

  • 369,583 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,542,206,900 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $1,170,436,430 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $371,770,470 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $597,040,381 Total Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated**
  • $533,359,841 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) obligated**
  • $742,415 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.

Local Perspectives

Economic Development Support. The U.S. Economic Development Association, International Economic Development Council, and Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service are partnering together to provide economic development assistance to communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Volunteer experts with experience in disaster recovery provide support to local governments during the recovery process.

Houston Recovery. A PBS Newshour special highlights the housing struggles families continue to face following Hurricane Harvey. Thousands of Texans remain in temporary housing while they find more permanent housing solutions. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner estimates about 4,300 Houstonians are still living in hotels while they wait for FEMA assistance.


Read other Disaster Housing Recovery Updates at: http://nlihc.org/issues/disaster

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: