Federal Response

PR Reconstruction plan. The Puerto Rican government submitted a recovery plan to Congress on August 8 that estimated the cost for reconstruction at $139 billion. This estimate is almost twice as much as the island’s government reported in November. Governor Ricardo Rosselló stated that “all the initiatives have the purpose of making us stronger and resilient, while guaranteeing a long-term economic recovery.”

Federal Register Notice. HUD published guidelines for states’ use of $10 billion in CDBG-DR funds appropriated in February of this year. NLIHC will prepare a comprehensive description of certain provisions, but has a preliminary analysis posted here. The major components of this notice are:

The public review and comment period is increased to 30 calendar days (up from 14).

For multifamily housing, the required affordability period is changed from 20 years to:
15 years if CDBG-DR is used to rehabilitate or reconstruct a multifamily rental property that has eight or more units.

20 years if CDBG-DR is used to newly construct a multifamily rental property that has five or more units.

There is no reduction in the requirement that 70% of the funds be used for activities that benefit low and moderate-income households, those with income at or less than 80% of the area median income.

Because incomes in Puerto Rico are “unusually low,” HUD will increase the low and moderate-income thresholds for determining whether an activity benefits “low and moderate income” people. HUD will publish the new thresholds on the HUD Exchange website.

Disability Integration in PR. FEMA’s Core Advisory Group Disability Integration Team is hosting seven briefings across Puerto Rico to identify issues and barriers for people with disabilities. Meetings will include a variety of stakeholders and take place in various locations. Check here for more information.

THUs in TX. FEMA published a fact sheet for survivors of Hurricane Harvey currently living in FEMA-provided temporary housing units (THUs).

Local Perspectives
Need for DHAP. Hundreds of families displaced by Hurricane Maria still lack viable housing options. This article from the Washington Post shares stories of some of these survivors and why the options FEMA provided did not work for Puerto Ricans.

Free Legal Clinics in TX. The Houston Bar Foundation and Houston Volunteer Lawyers will hold four free legal advice clinics in various locations from 9 AM to 1 PM on Saturday, August 18.

Slow Recovery in Port Arthur, TX. Already one of the poorest communities along the Texas Gulf Coast before Hurricane Harvey, Port Arthur has struggled to recover following the storm. Funding for recovery has been slower to reach the community, particularly since the Texas General Land Office focused initial funding on Houston.

Working Groups on Disaster Housing Recovery

Puerto Rico – Next meeting:  August 21 at 3:00 pm EDT
Homelessness – Next meeting:  August 27 at 3:00 PM EDT
Data Transparency – Next meeting:   September 5 at 3:30 PM EDT
Policy – Next meeting:  August 21, 12:30 PM EDT

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