Florida FEMA Registrations after Hurricane Irma: Renters Disproportionately Affected, Including Racial and Ethnic Minorities and Low Income Households

November 9, 2017

FEMA recently released data about registrations for assistance from its Individuals and Households Program (IHP) after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. IHP provides approved registrants with assistance for rent, home repair (for homeowners), or other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical care, transportation, storage, or essential household items. The data provide a summary of the number and ownership status of registrants, extent of damage, and the dollar amounts approved for assistance. Like NLIHC’s previous analysis of Hurricane Harvey registrants in Texas, the data from Florida show that renters are disproportionately represented among registrants, and racial and ethnic minorities and households with limited financial resources may face greater difficulty in planning for, coping with, and recovering from disaster.

As of October 31, more than 2.5 million registrants in Florida have applied for assistance, 45% of whom are owners and 55% are renters (table 1). The data demonstrate that a disproportionate percentage of renters have registered, as owners comprise 65% of all households in the disaster area and renters comprise 35%.  FEMA will continue to accept applications for individual assistance until November 24, 2017.


Table 1. Tenure Status
Florida Registrants Disaster Area

(All Households in IA-Eligible Counties)

Owners Renters Total Owners Renters Total
1,145,390 1,390,194 2,535,584 4,413,850 2,336,940 6,750,790
% of Total 45.2% 54.8% 100% 65.4% 34.6% 100.0%

Source: FEMA Housing Assistance Data (10/31/2017); 2011-2015 American Community Survey. IA = Individual Assistance.


Of the registrants, 287,226 owners and 412,923 renters have been approved for assistance. Some registrants’ approvals are pending, while others have been found ineligible. The causes of ineligibility, which can include non-damage related reasons like inadequate identification or inadequate proof of ownership or occupancy, are not provided in the current data. At the same time, physical damage inspections are completed for only 14% of owner registrants and 17% of renter registrants. We therefore focus on those who have applied for assistance.

The two following graphs show the distribution of renter and owner registrants across neighborhoods categorized by their by poverty rate (figure 1) and racial & ethnic composition (figure 2). To date, nearly half of renter registrants and 35% of owner registrants live in ZIP codes with a poverty rate of at least 20%. In addition, nearly half of renter registrants and 35% of owner registrants live in majority-minority ZIP codes (non-Hispanic White households account for less than 50% of all households).

figure-01_irmafigure-02_irma

FEMA’s currently available data do not include the incomes of individual registrants. If we assume that registrants reflect their neighborhoods, then renters are more likely than owners to have low incomes. More than 40% of renter registrants have an annual household income of less than $25,000, while another 31% have incomes between $25,000 and $50,000 (table 2). Twenty percent of owner registrants have incomes below $25,000, and 25% have incomes between $25,000 and $50,000.


 

Table 2. Income
Florida Registrants

Disaster Area 

(All Households in IA-Eligible Counties)

Income Owners Renters Owners Renters
< $25,000 20.4% 40.5% 19.1% 37.7%
$25,000 to $49,999 25.4% 30.9% 24.3% 30.7%
$50,000 to $74,999 19.6% 15.3% 19.1% 16.2%
$75,000 to $99,999 12.8% 6.8% 12.9% 7.5%
$100,000+ 21.9% 6.5% 24.6% 7.9%

Source: FEMA Housing Assistance Data (10/31/2017); 2011-2015 American Community Survey. Income of registrants is imputed using tenure by household income of applicants’ neighborhoods.


The majority of registrants are White because they account for the majority of the population in Florida’s disaster area. Blacks and Hispanics, however, appear to be disproportionately represented among registrants, compared to their share of households in the disaster area. Twenty-seven percent of renter registrants are black and 32% are Hispanic, while 13% of owner registrants are black and 21% are Hispanic (table 3).


Table 3. Race and Ethnicity
 

Florida Registrants

Disaster Area 

(All Households in IA-Eligible Counties)

Owners Renters Owners Renters
White 80.5% 63.7% 85.2% 69.0%
Black 13.5% 26.8% 9.4% 21.3%
American Indian 0.3% 0.4% 0.3% 0.5%
Asian 1.9% 1.6% 2.0% 1.9%
Other 3.8% 7.5% 3.1% 7.3%
Hispanic 21.4% 31.8% 15.4% 26.7%

Source: FEMA Housing Assistance Data (10/31/2017); 2010 Decennial Census. Race/ethnicity of registrants is imputed using tenure by race/ethnicity of applicants’ neighborhoods.


Recovery from disaster can be challenging for any family. The limited resources of low income households make recovery even more difficult. Past housing recovery efforts have included a bias in the allocation of federal funds toward homeownership and a failure to address the needs of low income households. The Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition is a group of more than 200 local, state, and national organizations working to ensure that the needs of renters and low income households are met, in part by calling on Congress to provide adequate funding to ensure that all households receive the affordable and accessible housing they need and by playing an active oversight role to ensure resources are allocated fairly to meet the needs of low income people can communities.

September 6: Update on Hurricane Harvey housing recovery

The House of Representatives has passed $7.85 billion in funding for immediate Hurricane Harvey relief. It now heads to the Senate, where it will likely be combined with legislation to lift the debt ceiling. While the White House supports combining disaster relief with must-pass debt ceiling legislation, Members of the House Freedom Caucus, including Representative Mark Meadows, will likely oppose it. Congress aims to deliver the first installment of aid by Friday, when FEMA is expected to run out of emergency dollars.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate of H.R. 3672 making supplemental appropriations for disaster relief.

Meanwhile, HUD Secretary Ben Carson does not believe that the budget cuts requested by the Trump administration are an obstacle to disaster relief.

BY THE NUMBERS:

  • 190,686 individual assistance grants have been approved.
  • $172,463,376 individuals and household program dollars have been approved.

LOCAL RESOURCES AND PERSPECTIVES

  • Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is providing $6.7 million in grants available to members’ employees, small businesses, and community based organizations involved in recovery efforts.
    • $4.5 million will assist member banks’ employees whose homes were damaged or destroyed. Maximum grant is $10,000. If these funds are not used by November 15, the remainder will be available to assist qualified households in the general public.
    • $2 million will assist small businesses. Maximum grant is $15,000.
    • $225,000 will assist community-based organizations involved with affordable housing to help meet their operating needs while assisting with recovery efforts. Maximum grant is $10,000.
  • Political Climate: Conservative Texan politicians are not letting their political views get in the way of working with the federal government or advocating for federal relief funds.
  • Lone Star Legal Aid: Despite a fire destroying their offices, Lone Star Legal Aid is assisting with FEMA applications and preparing for eventual appeals.
  • Texas Appleseed and National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty: Pre-K through 12th grade students displaced by Hurricane Harvey have the right to attend school. This fact sheet will help parents and students navigate their rights.
  • National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty’s report on Homeless Education Advocacy Manual provides disaster-specific guidance.
  • Yardi to Donate $1 Million: Santa Barbara-based real estate software developer Yardi has donated $1 million to relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey, and launched a website to help displaced residents find housing. Yardi is using its RENTCafe property marketing and leasing platform to create a housing registry website, to help displaced residents find temporary and permanent homes. There is no charge for housing providers to list their properties or for residents to use it.

HUD:

  • A media release jointly issued by HUD, FEMA, and the Small Business Administration states that those agencies are “focused on identifying strategies to strengthen the housing market, building inclusive and sustainable communities, and integrating disaster mitigation measures into community design and development, to reduce future damages.” The joint letter lists short-term as well as intermediate and long-term housing activities, all of which have been written about in earlier versions of NLIHC’s Hurricane Harvey blog posts.
  • In radio interview, HUD Secretary Ben Carson hopes to “get rid of a lot of the red tape” during efforts to re-house displaced households who rely on HUD-supported housing. He does not see potential budget cuts as an obstacle to disaster relief.

FEMA:

  • Three more State of Texas/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers are open: one Houston, one in Colorado County in the city of Columbus, and another in Fayette County in the city of La Grange. Earlier in the week a DRC opened in Jackson County in the city of Edna. DRCs offer in-person support to individuals and businesses in the 32 counties in the Texas federal disaster declaration for Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent floods. Recovery specialists from the FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the state, and other interests will be at the centers to talk about assistance and to help anyone who needs guidance in filing an application.

Rural Development (RD):

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, USDA Rural Development (RD) issued a letter outlining ways the agency can provide assistance to homeowners affected by the hurricane. RD also provides assistance for new grants and to help existing loan and grant recipients. RD-assisted homeowners are urged to contact their local Rural Development State Office by email or telephone regarding questions about their loan or grant.

Department of Justice (DOJ):

In a media release, Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez announced that representatives from numerous federal and state law enforcement agencies have formed a working group to investigate and prosecute illegal activity related to Hurricane Harvey.

“This disaster has brought and will continue to bring unprecedented human and financial loss to our communities, and victims of this event have already suffered staggering devastation,” said Martinez. “The last thing that victims of this damage need is to be victimized again. Under the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, we bring a comprehensive law enforcement focus to combat any criminal activity arising from the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey and the rebuilding efforts underway.”

The Disaster Fraud Hotline is 1-866-720-5721 and is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The public can also send an email or fax information to 225-334-4707.

In addition, the Texas Attorney General’s Office is asking Texans to contact their Consumer Protection Division and file a complaint if they feel they have encountered price gouging, have been scammed, or fall victim to a charities fraud. They can call the toll-free hotline at 800-621-0508, send an email or file a complaint on via the web.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS):

  • IRS Notice 2017-48 reminds employers that have adopted or may be considering adopting leave-based donation programs that employees can elect to forgo vacation, sick, or personal leave in exchange for cash payments that the employer makes to charitable organizations described in 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. The notice provides guidance for income and employment tax purposes on the treatment of cash payments made by employers under leave-based donation programs.
  • Oklahoma is permitting all owners of low-income housing tax credit (“LIHTC”) properties to provide temporary emergency housing to displaced individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey, in accordance with Revenue Procedures 2014-49 and 2014-50. The Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) reports that since 1987, more than 28,000 rental units in about 500 properties have been built with LIHTC assistance. A database listing of LIHTC properties is on the OFHA website.

Advocacy:

Twenty-three organizations, including NLIHC, issued a joint statement calling on Congress to swiftly appropriate funds for Hurricane Harvey relief, and to do so with emergency funding that is not offset by cuts to other important programs. They assert that the rebuilding process must result in a smarter and fairer distribution of affordable housing, so that options available to low income people, particularly low income people of color, are not limited to high-poverty, highly segregated, geographically vulnerable neighborhoods. In this regard, Houston must resolve the problems related to the location of its assisted housing that were identified by HUD in its recent Title VI finding. It is essential that those affected have meaningful access to emergency and recovery-related services, including those who are blind, deaf and hard of hearing, and regardless of ability to speak English or citizenship status.

For more information, please contact NLIHC Director of Public Policy Sarah Mickelson (smickelson@nlihc.org) or Senior Advisor Ed Gramlich (ed@nlihc.org).

September 5: Update on Hurricane Harvey housing recovery

As Hurricane Harvey survivors return to find their homes are uninhabitable or still inaccessible, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner continues to stress that his highest priorities are “housing, housing, housing.”

The House of Representatives is expected to vote Wednesday on an initial appropriation of $7.85 billion in disaster relief, as requested by the Trump administration. The package includes $7.4 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund and $450 million for the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program, designed to help individuals and small businesses begin rebuilding their homes.

The Senate is considering combining this initial relief with must-pass legislation to lift the debt ceiling. Such a bill would likely garner broad bipartisan support, despite opposition from the Freedom Caucus, and would be signed by the president.

“Our first priority is to make sure that the state gets money. It is critical. And to do that, we need to make sure we raise the debt limit. Without raising the debt limit, I’m not comfortable that we will get the money that we need this month to Texas to rebuild,” stated Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

BY THE NUMBERS (As of September 4):

 FEMA has received more than 573,000 registrations for assistance.

  • More than 180,000 survivors have been approved for more than $148 million in assistance from FEMA. Of that amount, $55 million is approved for housing assistance, including rental assistance, and nearly $93 million is approved for other needs assistance.
  • More than 53,600 survivors checked in to hotels and motels through FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance program.
  • More than 73,000 National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims have been submitted, and more than $13.2 million advance payments have been issued to insured survivors.
  • More than 6,470 disaster loan applications, primarily for homes, have been received by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA has completed more than 2,600 property damage inspections.

LOCAL RESOURCES AND PERSPECTIVES

 Administration:

The original disaster declaration has been amended four times to expand the areas covered. To-date, 43 counties are covered for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) public assistance program. In addition, 39 counties are covered for FEMA individual assistance and debris removal. All 43 counties are eligible for Hazard Mitigation grants.

A fifth amendment to the original disaster declaration was issued on September 2, following a letter from the President altering the cost-sharing arrangements under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. Instead of a 75% federal cost-share, the amendment authorizes a 90% federal cost-share for debris removal and direct federal assistance, and a 100% federal cost-share for emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance. These cost-share provisions apply for 30 days from the start of the disaster declaration, reverting to 90% afterward.

 FEMA:

  • FEMA Administrator Brock Long has named Michael Byrne as Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator (FDRC). He will work under the direction of Kevin Hannes, Federal Coordinating Officer, and Nim Kidd, State Coordinating Officer/Governor’s Authorized Representative. Mr. Byrne will facilitate disaster recovery collaboration between federal, tribal, state, and local governments, as well as the private sector, including community organizations. Mr. Byrne has more than 30 years of experience in disaster management and recovery, including serving as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Hurricane Sandy.
  • FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs): Offices are now open in Houston, Columbus, La Grange, and Edna, Texas, to support disaster survivors with information and resources. DRCs will continue to open in other locations identified by the state.Survivors can go to the DRC Locator to find the closest location.
  • Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSATs): Staff are located in key locations, such as shelters, helping survivors who may not be near a DRC to register for disaster assistance, get referrals to community partners, and obtain help with immediate and emerging needs.
  • Accessibility: FEMA resources are available in other formats and languages reach people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, and people speak Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
  • Flood Insurance: FEMA is enhancing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims process and extending the grace period for paying policy renewal premiums. FEMA is directing all NFIP private insurance companies to provide advance payments even before visits by an adjuster. A policy holder can receive an advance payment for up to $5,000 without an adjuster visit or additional documentation. Up to $20,000 can be advanced if an applicant provides photos or videos showing damage as well as receipts or contractor estimates.
  • Infographics: FEMA has created shareable infographics to help communicate with survivors about ways to apply for assistance, what to expect after you apply for aid, and how to help.

HUD:

  • Evaluating Damage: HUD has deployed housing specialists to Texas and is deploying 100 additional personnel to evaluate damaged subsidized housing in the affected areas and they are developing comprehensive vacancy lists that will assist with relocating some shelter residents.
  • HUD’s Hurricane Harvey Latest News webpage has added a link to its Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control, providing Post-Disaster Healthy Housing Resources.

Small Business Administration (SBA):

  •  The SBA has a Disaster Loan Assistance webpage that includes information for homeowners and renters.
  • A Fact Sheet for Homeowners and Renters indicates that renters and homeowners may borrow up to $40,000 to repair or replace clothing, furniture, cars, or appliances damaged or destroyed in a disaster. Homeowners may apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace their primary residence to its pre-disaster condition. For applicants unable to obtain credit elsewhere the interest rate will not exceed 4%. For those who can obtain credit elsewhere, the interest rate will not exceed 8%. The SBA offers loans with long-term repayments, in many cases up to 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS):

  •  The DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and FEMA have developed guidance for impacted states, localities, and other federal recipients on how to effectively communicate with the whole community and carry out their disaster-related activities in a non-discriminatory manner.

 USDA:

  • USDA’s Food Assistance for Disaster Relief webpage contains FAQs about food assistance in disaster situations, various programs such as Disaster SNAP (D-SNAP), Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) disaster response, fact sheets, and other related information.
  • USDA is providing assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and waiving some regulations to make food more accessible to SNAP recipients, school children, seniors, and people who have fled Texas for other states because of Harvey.

Waivers

USDA has granted several waivers in Texas allowing schools in the National School Lunch Program to provide free meals. It has also provided more flexibility to schools regarding what they can feed kids, given the challenges of preparing specific foods during this period. Steps already taken by USDA in Texas include:

  • Approving a request by Texas to waive SNAP regulations to allow program participants to buy hot foods and hot ready-to-eat foods with their benefits until September 30.
  • Supporting the state in its plans to shift the full SNAP issuance schedule for September to the first of the month so that families have access to their monthly benefits sooner.
  • Allowing all schools in declared disaster counties to waive the National School Lunch Program meal pattern and meal service time requirements. This will allow schools to serve meals that do not meet the menu planning or meal pattern requirements for schools and child care institutions and facilities in the affected areas through September 30.
  • Allowing all disaster affected schools to provide meals to all students at no charge and be reimbursed at the free reimbursement rate through September 30.
  • Providing the state the flexibility needed to allow seniors who participate in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program in the service areas impacted by the hurricane to receive two food packages in September to make up for the loss of their August food benefit.
  • Approving Texas to designate schools not directly impacted by the Hurricane to serve as disaster organizations and shelters so that USDA foods can be used for congregate feeding, providing critical food assistance to those in need. USDA Foods include a variety of canned, fresh, frozen and dry products which include fruits, vegetables, meats, and whole grains.
  • Through September 24, WIC recipients will be allowed to purchase a wider variety of products, based on what is available on store shelves.

Details of waivers are here.

Short- and Long-term Plans

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) announced a number of immediate actions as well as long-term plans for ensuring Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey have access to food through SNAP and D-SNAP.

Effective immediately, the plan involves a number of short-term solutions including issuing replacement benefits to SNAP households that lost food in the disaster and waivers simplifying state administration of the program.  FNS and Texas are simultaneously preparing for longer-term solutions including D-SNAP, which will be implemented once the commercial channels of food distribution have been restored and families are back in their homes. D-SNAP provides streamlined and expanded nutrition assistance after a disaster.

D-SNAP

Another USDA media release indicates that to simplify program administration in disaster conditions, the D-SNAP application and eligibility process is shortened and streamlined. In times when D-SNAP becomes necessary, low income households not normally eligible under regular program rules may qualify for D-SNAP if they meet the disaster income limits, which are slightly higher, and have qualifying disaster-related expenses such as loss of income, damage to property, and relocation expenses. Additionally, ongoing SNAP clients may also receive disaster assistance in the form of a supplement when their benefits are less than the monthly maximum, to help replace food destroyed in the disaster.

Using SNAP in Other States

On September 2, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service issued special procedures that give all states flexibility in providing expedited SNAP benefits to families who have evacuated their homes and moved outside Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey. USDA is offering all SNAP state agencies nationwide the choice of using the program’s expedited service provisions or offering evacuees two months of disaster benefits using streamlined program procedures under a special Evacuee Policy designed in response to Hurricane Harvey. These efforts ensure that people who have traveled outside Texas to safer ground as a result of the disaster get the vital nutrition they need.

LABOR

EDUCATION:

  • Emergency Response Contact Center: K-12 and Higher Education stakeholders who are seeking informational resources should contact the Department of Education toll free at 1-844-348-4082 or by email at HarveyRelief@ed.gov.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS):

  • IRS now has a webpage devoted to Hurricane Harvey.
  • Indiana and Kentucky are permitting all owners of low-income housing tax credit (“LIHTC”) properties to provide temporary emergency housing to displaced individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey, in accordance with Revenue Procedures 2014-49 and 2014-50.

The latest information about the activities of other federal agencies are discussed at “Coordinated Response to Hurricane Harvey Continues.”

Media:

  • Washington Post, In disaster recovery, white homeowners and black renters are not always treated equally.
  • Reuters, Storm pits Houston’s homeless against newly displaced

For more information, please contact NLIHC Director of Public Policy Sarah Mickelson (smickelson@nlihc.org) or Senior Advisor Ed Gramlich (ed@nlihc.org).

September 1: Latest updates on Hurricane Harvey housing recovery

Houston Housing Director Tom McCasland is urgently calling for short-term and long-term housing solutions for people displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Today, the Trump administration is expected to formally request that Congress provide $5.95 billion for response and initial recovery efforts. Congressional leaders have signaled that they may combine disaster relief with other must-pass legislation to lift the debt ceiling and to fund the government at the start of the new fiscal year. But, this approach has already been criticized by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, who has called for tying deep spending cuts to any increase in the debt ceiling.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson, meanwhile, reaffirmed his agency’s long-term commitment to Houston’s recovery, saying that it is “a mammoth issue and it’s going to be something we’re going to be involved in for many months, and maybe even a few years.”

BY THE NUMBERS:

LOCAL RESOURCES AND UPDATES:

  • Status of Recovery and Principles for Disaster Response – Chrishelle Palay, Co-director of Texas LIHIS’s Houston Office, gives an update on recovery efforts underway in the city and the 7 principles that should guide the federal, state, and local response to Hurricane Harvey:
    • Securing help from government is fair, easy and understandable and survivors have a say in the process.
    • Everyone gets safe temporary housing where they can reconnect with family and community.
    • Displaced people have access to the resources they need to lead normal lives
    • Everyone is assisted to fully recover housing, personal property and transportation quickly.
    • All homeowners are able to rebuild in safe, quality neighborhoods of their choice.
    • Renters’ get quality, affordable rental property in safe, quality neighborhoods of their choice.
    • All neighborhoods are free from environmental hazards with quality public infrastructure to keep them safe and resilient.
  • Deaf ASL Interpreters: Anyone who needs a deaf interpreter should call the Harvey Interpreter Hotline at 281-845-4443 (text or VRS) or email DeafHarveySurvivors@gmail.com.
  • Legal Aid Volunteers Needed:  If you are an attorney licensed in Texas, an attorney licensed in another state, a law school graduate, a law student or a paralegal, you can volunteer by contacting Lone Star Legal Aid. No disaster experience needed.
  • City of Houston: After a 2014 study found that Houston’s neighborhoods of color were inadequately protected from even modest storm events, the city took no action. Damage caused by Hurricane Harvey could have been mitigated.

FEMA:

  • FEMA Mobile App: Download the FEMA mobile app to locate open shelters and disaster recovery centers, apply for assistance, receive alerts, or be put in touch with a FEMA representative.
  • Flood Insurance: The CBO reports that premiums collected by the National Flood Insurance Program for policies in effect in August 2016 fell short of the program’s expected costs by $1.4 billion, mainly because of shortfalls in coastal counties.

HUD and USDA:

  • HUD Grantees, Partners and Residents: HUD.gov and the HUD Exchange have added new pages to highlight important news, updates, and resources. Each page contains important links and information to aid residents affected by Hurricane Harvey, including where to find the nearest shelter, how to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance, steps to care for your home post disaster, and other helpful resources, including:
  • Secretary Carson: Sent a letter advising HUD employees that they can use up to 96 hours of administrative leave annually to volunteer in response to disaster, like Hurricane Harvey, or donate to Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund to help federal employees impacted by the storm. He noted that HUD will, “HUD will play a major role in the long-term recovery effort in the months, even years ahead.”
  • USDA: FEMA is making housing vouchers available to displaced families in Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Vouchers may be used at assisted properties with vacant units. USDA is encouraging owners of RD-financed properties with any vacant units that might be available on a temporary or permanent basis for displaced families to contact John.Carleton@fema.dhs.gov (202-870-4486) or Blair.McDonald@fema.dhs.gov (972-795-5795).

IRS:

DOJ:

OTHER RESOURCES:

  • Rep. John Culberson: Published a Flood Recovery Resource Guide (attached), with information about federal assistance and tips for filing claims.
  • Natural Disaster Legal Aid: Their resource center provides information and lists of legal aid, pro bono, and criminal defender attorneys working on legal issues relating to disasters.
  • American Bar Association: Reach their Disaster Hotline at 1-800-504-7030 or visit their website for legal support.
  • AirBNB: Their disaster response program, providing people displaced by the hurricane to stay with hosts for free, has been extended through September 25.
  • Map of Flooded Streets: This crowd-sourced map shows which streets experienced flooding in Houston and other Gulf Coast communities. It’s already been viewed 770,000 times since Monday.
  • Map of Flood Plain: NCRC produced a floodplain map of Harris County, Texas showing how areas at high-risk of flooding correspond with low and moderate income areas and communities of color.
  • Bank Regulators: NCRC’s factsheet explains how banks and lenders can respond to this disaster.
  • Tracking Rescue Calls: This map shows where rescue calls were made leading up to and during Hurricane Harvey.

For more information, please contact NLIHC Director of Public Policy Sarah Mickelson (smickelson@nlihc.org) or Senior Advisor Ed Gramlich (ed@nlihc.org).

 

 

August 31: Latest updates on Hurricane Harvey housing recovery

Dear partners,

As the scope of the damage becomes clear, experts and policymakers are stressing just how important housing solutions will be for long-term recovery from Hurricane Harvey. Vice President Mike Pence said that “housing is the biggest long-term concern in the hurricane zone.” Current FEMA director Brock Long said, “the state of Texas is about to undergo one of the largest recovery-housing missions that the nation has ever seen,” and experts like former FEMA director Craig Fugate have predicted that the “primary largest impact on the region will be housing.

BY THE NUMBERS

LOCAL RESOURCES AND UPDATES

CONGRESS

We’ve been in close touch with key Congressional leaders. The Texas delegation has begun conversations about disaster aid with House and Senate leaders, FEMA, and the White House. Republican leaders have said (although this is certainly subject to change) that Congress will take up a limited disaster aid bill in mid-September, with additional resources to follow at the end of the month when Congress enacts a Continuing Resolution and afterwards. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) is calling for $150 billion in aid to assist in recovery efforts. Republicans in the delegation are also calling for significant disaster recovery funding from Congress.  

FEMA

  • FEMA’s website devoted to Texas Hurricane Harvey lists the designated areas currently eligible for three forms of assistance:
    • Public Assistance grant program provides assistance to government organizations and certain private nonprofit organizations to repair or replace disaster-damaged facilities.
    • Hazard mitigation grants provide assistance to state and local governments and certain private nonprofits to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural disasters.
    • Individuals and Households Program (IHP) provides for certain housing and other needs. Housing needs covered include temporary housing, lodging expense reimbursement, and costs not covered by insurance to repair or replace owner-occupied homes. Other needs covered include the cost of: child care, medical and dental treatment, funerals, damage to household item such as appliances, vehicle damage, clean up, and moving and storage.

HUD and USDA

  • Rural Development: RD has created a webpage, outlining assistance available after a disaster for displaced residents, owners of USDA-financed multifamily housing, and homeowners with USDA loan. 

DOJ:

Other Resources:

More to come…

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Diane