- FEMA granted a blanket extension of the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program for approximately 1,700 survivors who were scheduled to lose their benefits. FEMA had determined that these families were no longer eligible for TSA, but the extension allows them to continue participating. The program is still set to expire for all participants on May 14.
- FEMA also granted an extension for Hurricane Harvey survivors participating in TSA. Survivors are now expected to check out on June 1.
- FEMA released a draft Individual Assistance Program and Policy Guide that is open for public comment through June 7, 2018. This is a policy resource for all Individual Assistance (IA) programs that FEMA administers.
- Those affected by the 2017 hurricanes are now eligible for a new Exceptional Circumstances Special Enrollment Period for healthcare in the Marketplace.
- Texans Pushed out of Hotels. Despite granting an extension for the TSA program through May 31, FEMA told about 1,400 people to check out of their hotel rooms by April 24. FEMA determined that certain areas have enough available rental units to reabsorb those who had been renting before the storm. Homeowners were allowed to stay. These households were given less than a week to vacate their hotel rooms
- Failures in TX. Houston homeowners spoke out about their negative experiences with the Partial Repair and Essential Power for Sheltering (PREPS) program. The General Land Office (GLO) runs this FEMA-funded program that provides just enough repairs to make homes livable. Many homeowners were disappointed with the repairs, and both advocates and homeowners are unclear on the GLO’s criteria for the program.
- Unequal Response in TX. Near Beaumont, TX, two neighborhoods have received different responses following the disaster. In a small, predominately white, middle-class town just outside the city, contractors were busy making repairs on houses. Many families had FEMA trailers, and signs provided helpful information regarding community resources. On Pine Street, where predominately black residents live among empty lots where homes have been bought out from past floods, destroyed houses sat empty; and only one family had a FEMA trailer. More transparent data is necessary to better understand such discrepancies.
- Struggling in the FL Keys. While tourism may have recovered in the Florida Keys, many residents have been left behind. Seven months after Hurricane Irma, families are still in improvised living conditions. Tourism is critical to the Keys’ economy, but low income workers are being priced out of the market. Building resilient homes is expensive, and coastal cities often avoid rebuilding affordable homes or public housing.
- Health Outcomes in PR and USVI. The Kaiser Family Foundation released a new report regarding health care issues in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands six months following Hurricane Maria.
Working Groups on Disaster Housing Recovery
- Next meeting: May 15 at 3:00 PM EDT
- Next meeting: April 30 at 3:00 PM EDT
- Next meeting: First week of May TBA
- The House has included several disaster provisions in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018 (R. 4)–a must-pass bill. The House is expected to vote on the bill this week. While none of these address disaster housing issues, we are looking for opportunities to include such provisions in the Senate version.
- Next meeting: May 1, 12:30 EDT
Read previous Disaster Housing Recovery updates at: http://nlihc.org/issues/disaster