Disaster Housing Recovery Update, Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Federal Response

FEMA
FEMA has released a report titled the “2017 Hurricane Season FEMA After-Action Report.” The report details the response to hurricanes in 2017, including instances of FEMA’s being underprepared for the size and scope of these storms. The report also includes recommendations for disaster response moving forward.

FEMA hosted four Partner Strategy Sessions—the transcripts of which can now be viewed here.

FEMA has denied or not answered 79% of appeals from hurricane survivors in Puerto Rico seeking assistance to rebuild their homes.

State Actions
The Central Recovery and Reconstruction Office of Puerto Rico released the draft of its Economic and Disaster Recovery Plan. The document is open for public comment until July 18.

The Connecticut State government has allocated $1.5 million for Puerto Rico evacuees living in the state. The largest allotment, $600,000, is earmarked specifically for housing. The Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH) will use $300,000 for general assistance for 300 to 600 families, which includes clothing, medical supplies, and other services.  One hundred households will be provided with first month’s rent and a security deposit along with case management.

Local Perspectives
After Hurricane Harvey destroyed his low-income apartment, Maurice Hill, now homeless, went viral on social media and the news when he sang Happy Birthday with his ‘velvet voice.’ 

Resources
NLIHC created a chart explaining the differences between FEMA’s Rental Assistance and DHAP—demonstrating why DHAP is the better program for providing long-term housing assistance for survivors of natural disasters.

The Practising Law Institute has released a webinar that provides an overview of the legal issues facing disaster survivors with a focus on FEMA appeals.

A legal services roundtable discussion will occur on Thursday, July 26th, entitled “Introduction to Federal Disaster Benefits and the ABA-YLD Disaster Legal Services Program.” The discussion will focus on the process of going from a disaster to a Major Disaster Declaration and the federal benefits triggered by the declaration.

YOUR ONLINE TOOL FOR SHARING STORIES OF DISASTER SURVIVORS:

Personal stories from disaster survivors can make a compelling case for the development of more responsive federal policies and programs—now and in the future. DHRC is collecting these accounts from survivors of the hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 and their advocates through a brief online form in both English and Spanish.  Clients can choose to remain anonymous.


Working Groups on Disaster Housing Recovery

Puerto Rico
Members of this WG will be meeting in Washington with the staff overseeing housing legislation for Congresswoman Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner) and with Puerto Rico’s Housing Director Fernando Gil-Ensenat in Puerto Rico.
Next meeting:  August 21 at 3:00 pm EDT

Homelessness
Next meeting:  July 23 at 3:00 PM EDT

Data Transparency
Next meeting:   August 1 at 3:30 PM EDT

Policy
Next meeting:  July 24, 12:30 PM EDT


Read previous Disaster Housing Recovery updates at http://nlihc.org/issues/disaster

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