Disaster Housing Recovery Update – Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Hurricane Michael

Florida

FEMA

The President approved Florida’s request for pre-landfall emergency declaration (EM-3405) for Hurricane Michael on October 9. Under the Title V of the Stafford Act, the declaration authorizes FEMA to provide assistance to state and local governments for debris removal and emergency protective measures to “save lives and protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe.”  

State Action

The Florida Department of State issued a memorandum extending the voter registration deadline for any paper voter registration applications for the 2018 General Election relative to any Supervisor of Elections’ offices closed on October 9.

Resources

  • Governor Scott activated the Florida Disaster Fund for Hurricane Michael, described as “the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster.” Donations may be made by credit card through the Florida Disaster Fund website http://www.floridadisasterfund.org/
  • The State of Florida is currently reporting that 32 shelters are open. To find updated information on the location and status of shelters throughout the state, go to FloridaDisaster.Org/shelter-status/.

Alabama

  • Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a statewide State of Emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Michael on October 8. A list of emergency shelters in the state is available here and here.

Georgia

  • Georgia Governor Nathan Deal issued an executive order declaring a State of Emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Michael on October 9. Read the press release here. The State of Emergency was expanded on October 10, now including 108 counties. Governor Deal has also called the Georgia National Guard up to State Active Duty to assist in the preparation, response, and recovery efforts associated with Hurricane Michael within the state of Georgia. Additional information about the state’s response is available through the Georgia Emergency Management Agency’s website.

South Carolina

  • South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced on October 10 that the state would remain in a State of Emergency due to the continued flooding from Hurricane Florence and potential impact from Hurricane Michael, which is expected to weaken to a tropical storm by the time it affects South Carolina on Thursday. Additional information is available through the South Carolina Emergency Management Division’s website.

North Carolina

  • North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency and waived transportation rules in anticipation of Hurricane Michael. The State of Emergency is in effect for 66 counties in North Carolina and may be expanded.

General

  • The USDA issued a press release on Wednesday, October 9 that outlines resources available through the Department to respond to Hurricane Michael. The announcement included links to USDA’s recently launched disaster assistance discovery tool through its new website Farmers.gov
  • Airbnb has activated its Disaster Response and Relief operation. According to the company’s website, over 244 hosts have opened their homes for free from October 8 to October 29 to assist displaced neighbors and relief workers deployed to help.

Hurricane Florence

North Carolina

FEMA

  • FEMA has approved 23,324 Individual Assistance (IA) applications and $84.6 million for the Individual and Households (IHP) program. Dollars or applications approved does not necessarily mean money has been distributed.
  • According to a FEMA fact sheet about Direct Temporary Housing programs, FEMA is providing recreation vehicles (RVs) and manufactured housing units as temporary housing options for survivors in North Carolina. Currently, only nine counties are approved for Direct Housing assistance: Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, Onslow, Pender, and Robeson.
  • FEMA reports that 8,000 homeowners and almost 7,500 renters have received rental assistance from FEMA.

State Action

  • In a press briefing on Hurricane Michael, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced the estimated cost of damages from Hurricane Florence totaled nearly $13 billion. The Governor plans to recommend a long term funding package and request a down payment of $750 million into the Florence Recovery Fund. The full budget recommendation is available here, and the related press release is available here.

Local Perspectives & Resources

Over 100 of the more than 300 housing units at public housing complex Trent Court in New Bern, NC, are still uninhabitable. Local aldermen and public housing authority officials are working with HUD to receive emergency vouchers for displaced tenants.

South Carolina

FEMA

  • FEMA has approved 3,058 Individual Assistance (IA) applications and $10.3 million for the Individual and Households (IHP) program. Dollars or applications approved does not necessarily mean money has been distributed.
  • State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in Chesterfield, Dillon, Georgetown, Horry, Marion, and Marlboro counties will be closed starting at 7 PM Wednesday through Friday at 9 AM due to Hurricane Michael and poor weather conditions.

Local Perspectives & Resources

  • Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) stock in North Carolina and South Carolina was “relatively unscathed” by Hurricane Florence, according to an article in Housing Finance.  According to the South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority, there have been “no indications of damaged LIHTC properties in the state.” Within the 28 counties in North Carolina affected by Florence, less than 400 of the 18,000 LIHTC units were impacted by the storm. 2017 Disasters

Federal Response

Congress

  • The Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition shared its Top Priorities for any Disaster Recovery Package with Congress as it prepares the next disaster relief package for the communities impacted by Hurricane Florence. The document, developed by the Policy Working Group, includes twelve specific recommendations to Congress on how to enhance the federal response to housing needs following natural disasters. The recommendations to Congress include:
    • Provide robust disaster recovery funding and housing assistance for people with the greatest needs;
    • Require all damaged or destroyed federally subsidized affordable rental homes to be replaced on a one-for-one basis;
    • Ensure that federal disaster recovery dollars are used equitably to address housing and infrastructure needs, as well as the needs of homeowners, renters, and people experiencing homelessness;
    • Support innovative, cost-effective housing solutions;
    • Promote contracting and jobs for low income disaster survivors and businesses; and
    • Prepare for the next disaster; by authorizing long-term disaster recovery legislation.

HUD

  • HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude discussed the department’s role in disaster recovery in HousingWire’s podcast 6 Questions with 6 HUD Executives. Secretary Patenaude explained her dual role at HUD, where she splits her time between disaster recovery and policymaking. Regarding HUD’s role in the recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, she explained that prior to the hurricane, over one quarter of a million people in Puerto Rico relied on HUD every day, given HUD’s large footprint in the Territory – with over 50,000 public housing units, 117,000 FHA-backed homeowners, 33,000 rental units under the Housing Choice Voucher program, and over 25,000 privately owned rental units in the Project-Based Section 8 program.

State Action

  • The Texas Land Commissioner announced on October 8 that the General Land Office (GLO) approved all nine methods of distribution (MODs) proposed by the regional Councils of Governments for Hurricane Harvey recovery. To review the approved MODs, visit Recovery.Texas.gov. The MODs have faced criticism from advocates, given the distribution of funds based solely on storm impact without taking into account how pre-existing community needs may have contributed to worse conditions. Learn more about the critiques from a blog post by Texas Housers.
  •  The State of Florida released a draft of its Substantial Amendment to the Florida Disaster Recovery Action Plan for distributing Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds related to Hurricane Irma. HUD requirements are available in the August 14, 2018 Federal Register.

Local Perspectives

  • An article in El Nuevo Día featured information on the Puerto Rico Bar Association’s initiative to provide assistance to families in appealing denials by FEMA to the Individual Assistance program because of issues related to property titles.

Working Groups on Disaster Housing Recovery

Puerto Rico

  • Next meeting:  October 16 at 3:00 pm EDT

Homelessness

  • Next meeting:   October 22 at 3:00 PM EDT

Data Transparency

  • Next meeting:   November 7 at 3:30 PM EDT

Policy

  • Next meeting:  October 16 at 12:30pm EDT

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

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