Hurricane Housing Recovery Updates, Tuesday, October 10, 2017

HURRICANE HOUSING RECOVERY COALITION

On October 10, the Hurricane Housing Recovery Coalition held a congressional briefing on our recommendations for a just, equitable and complete housing recovery from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Chrishelle Palay (Texas Housers), Suzanne Cabrera (Florida Housing Coalition), Patrick Sheridan (Volunteers of America) and Chandra Crawford (NAEH) joined me on a panel to share immediate needs in impacted communities, housing recovery recommendations for Congress and lessons learned from previous disasters. We had very good turnout – over 70 people in attendance, including nearly 60 congressional offices – and an excellent reception to the presentations and recommendations. Thanks to our national partners who showed up to hear from and support local leaders, including colleagues from NFHA, PolicyLink, NRDC, NDRN, Nat’l Coalition for the Homeless, Enterprise, HPN, SAHF and Catholic Charities.

Chrishelle, Suzanne, Pat and Chandra spent the rest of the day, together with Sarah Mickelson and Elayne Weiss of NLIHC, meeting with congressional delegation staff and staff from Appropriations and House Financial Services Committee staff. We’ll share key takeaways and next steps on this week’s call. Many thanks to Chrishelle and Suzanne for traveling to DC, and to them and all the speakers for taking time out of their busy schedules to share their important work with leaders on the Hill.

Congressional Briefing Panel

From left to right: Chandra Crawford, National Alliance to End Homelessness, speaking on lessons learned after Hurricane Katrina; Suzanne Cabrera, Florida Housing Coalition; Chrishelle Palay, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (Texas Housers); Pat Sheridan,Volunteers of America, speaking on housing needs in Puerto Rico; & Diane Yentel, President and CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition

Congressional Briefing Panel 3Congressional Briefing Panel 4

CONGRESS

Last week the Texas congressional delegation sent a request to appropriators for an additional $18.7 billion in disaster recovery funding (on top of the recent White House request for $29.3 billion), including $7 billion in CDBG-DR. Over the weekend, the Governor of Puerto Rico sent a letter to appropriators requesting an additional $4.6 billion, including $3.2 billion in CDBG-DR. The Florida delegation (28 out of 29) has requested an additional $26.9 billion, including $7 billion in CDBG-DR. Today, the White House sent Congress an additional disaster spending request: $5B to assist Puerto Rico with disaster recovery. The House may take up a supplemental spending bill this week, but it’s unclear how many of these requests they’ll include in their bill. They are very likely to add some of these additional requests to the original White House request, along with funding to assist with recovery from the devastating wildfires in California.


HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (as of 10/10)

  • 13,836 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $6,922,008 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $3,185 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $6,918,823 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $37,005,952 Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated** all of which are for Emergency Work (Categories A-B)

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

**Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

Free Meals. The Puerto Rico Department of Education is managing 18 sites that serve free breakfast and lunch seven days a week for both students and other survivors.

U.S. Virgin Islands

 By the Numbers: (unchanged from 10/2)

  • $10,510,000 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) dollars obligated**

**Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

  • Debris Removal. FEMA is providing more than $10 million in expedited funding to support clean up and remove debris in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Communications Measures. The Department of Defense’s Civil Authorities Information Support Element (CAISE) is helping recovery agencies get vital information to survivors who lack electricity or access to cell towers. CAISE has disseminated messages about registering with FEMA, locating supply stations, and finding Wi-Fi hotspots.

HURRICANE IRMA

 FEMA

 Florida

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/10)

  • 681,295 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $731,095,971 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $487,127,326 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $243,968,645 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • November 9 deadline for Individual Assistance. Homeowners and renters who suffered damage as a result of Hurricane Irma have until November 9 to register with FEMA for possible federal disaster assistance.
  • November 5 deadline for Public Assistance. The Florida Division of Emergency Management requests state, local, or tribal governments and certain nonprofit organizations that experienced damage from Hurricane Irma submit their requests for reimbursement by November 5. Requests received by November 5 will be forwarded to FEMA on or before FEMA’s November 10 deadline.
  • Floodplain or historic property restoration activities. FEMA posted an initial public notice concerning activities that may affect historic properties, activities that are located in or affect wetland areas or the 100-year floodplain, and critical actions within the 500-year floodplain.
    • Presidential Executive Orders 11988 and 11990 require that all federal actions in or affecting floodplains or wetlands be reviewed for opportunities to relocate, and be evaluated for social, economic, historical, environmental, legal, and safety considerations. Where there is no opportunity to relocate, FEMA is required to undertake a detailed review to determine measures that can be taken to minimize future damage. The notice sets out four criteria that must be met to determine that there are no alternatives to restoration in the floodplain. The public is invited to participate in the process of identifying alternatives and analyzing their impacts.
    • Housing Individual Assistance (IA) actions may adversely affect a floodplain or wetland, or may result in continuing vulnerability to floods. Actions may include repair, restoration, or construction of housing, purchase and placement of travel trailers or manufactured housing units or repair of structures as minimum protective measures. This is the only public notice concerning these actions.
  • The National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their actions on historic properties. Actions or activities affecting buildings, structures, districts, or objects 50 years or older or that affect archeological sites or undisturbed ground will require further review to determine whether the property is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (Register). If the property is determined to be eligible for the Register, and FEMA’s actions will adversely affect it, FEMA will provide additional notices. For historic properties not adversely affected by FEMA’s actions, this will be the only notice.
  • Home Inspections. Home Inspections are an important part of FEMA assessing the type and amount of assistance survivors receive. The estimated wait time for a traditional is thirty days, so FEMA has eliminated some inspections in an effort to streamline the process. This includes those who have no real or personal property damage, but their home is either inaccessible or their essential utilities are temporarily unavailable, as well as those who only have flood damage and already have flood insurance that will cover the damage. FEMA has also provided an FAQ page for those who do need to schedule an inspection.

Georgia

By the Numbers: (as of 10/5)

  • 7,942 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $9,501,024 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $6,657,633 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $2,843,391 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.


HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

By the Numbers: (as of 10/10)

  • 319,363 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $1,040,581,528 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $794,012,800 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $246,568,727 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $327,886,760 Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated** all of which are for Emergency Work (Categories A-B)

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

**Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

  • Extension of TSA. The Transitional Sheltering Assistance program (TSA), which provides funding for survivors to stay at a hotel while searching for housing, has been extended to October 24. The previous deadline was October 10.
  • Public Infrastructure Reimbursement. Texas governmental jurisdictions and nonprofit organizations have until 5 pm on October 31 to submit requests for reimbursement for Hurricane Harvey expenses. Reimbursements are for disaster-related costs for emergency response, debris removal, and permanent work, including repairs or replacements of schools, roads, and other public infrastructure.

 Local Perspectives

  • Texas Organizations’ Letter to Congress. The Texas Low Income Housing Information Service and Texas Appleseed sent a letter to Texas’s congressional delegation in response to a September 21 letter from the delegation to HUD Secretary Ben Carson. The organizations oppose:
    1. Lowering the CDBG programs’ requirement that 70% of the funds benefit low and moderate income households;
    2. Shortening the period for public review of and comment on a state’s CDBG-DR Action Plan from 30 days to seven days; and
    3. Allowing “maximum flexibility” regarding use of CDBG-DR funds among housing, infrastructure, and mitigation without data indicating which activities have the greatest need.
  • D-SNAP Burdensome for Disabled. Lone Star Legal Aid attorneys have contacted the office of Governor Greg Abbott regarding access to D-SNAP application sites for individuals with disabilities. Limited times and locations with no alternative forms of application are unduly burdensome for this community as they cannot always wait in long lines for hours on end. Attorneys have also found that public outreach about the D-SNAP process has been inadequate, that most people at shelters and disaster recovery centers have never heard of D-SNAP.
  • Location of Debris Management Sites. Lone Star Legal Aid reports that Debris Management Site (DMS) has opened near a low-income minority neighborhood in Port Arthur, despite regulations requiring DMS to not be located in areas that could cause harm to schools or neighborhoods, or disrupt local business. Executive Order 12898 from 1994 also requires localities receiving federal funds from a source such as FEMA to evaluate its actions for disproportionately high and adverse effects on minority or low income populations and find ways to avoid or minimize adverse impacts. The site has been operating for over a month, and attorneys at Lone Star Legal Aid have demanded the City of Port Arthur close the DMS as soon as possible.

Hurricanes, Friday, October 6, 2017

CONGRESS

House and Senate appropriators are beginning to work on the next disaster spending bill, and additional CDBG-DR funding is in the mix. Today, the full Texas congressional delegation (including Senator Cornyn, majority whip) sent a letter to appropriators urging an additional $7 billion in CDBG-DR funding for Texas. They also requested an additional $11+ billion for: the Army Corps of Engineers ($10 billion), SBA disaster loans ($450 million), state educational agencies ($800 million), economic development administration ($300 million) and transportation infrastructure ($100 million). The House may move on a disaster spending bill next week, with the Senate likely to take it up by the end of October.


HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (unchanged from 10/3, except Emergency Work)

  • 13,832 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $6,916,000 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $6,916,000 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $27,839,460 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) obligated✝

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

✝Dollars Obligated: Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

U.S. Virgin Islands

By the Numbers: (unchanged from 10/2)

  • $10,510,000 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) dollars obligated**

**Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

  • Amendment No. 3. The third amendment to the initial disaster declaration enables all islands in the U.S. Virgin Islands to apply for FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Categories C through G.  These categories are for permanent work related to roads and bridges (C), water control facilities (D), public buildings and contents (E), public utilities (F), and parks and recreational facilities (G).

HURRICANE IRMA

FEMA 

Florida

By the Numbers: (as of 10/6)

  • 675,257 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $700,888,153 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $461,735,676 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $239,152,477 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • Amendment No. 11. The eleventh amendment to the initial disaster declaration enables 25 counties to apply for FEMA Public Assistance (PA) Categories C through G. These categories are for permanent work related to roads and bridges (C), water control facilities (D), public buildings and contents (E), public utilities (F), and parks and recreational facilities (G).
  • Tropical Storm Nate. Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 17-262 declaring a state of emergency in 29 counties within the State of Florida in response to Tropical Storm Nate. The counties under the state of emergency are Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Holmes, Washington, Bay, Jackson, Calhoun, Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor, Hamilton, Suwannee, Lafayette, Dixie, Columbia, Gilchrist, Levy, Baker, Union, Bradford, and Alachua counties. Governor Scott is ensuring that local governments have ample time, resources and flexibility to get prepared for this storm and are not hindered, delayed or prevented from taking all necessary actions to keep communities safe.

Georgia

By the Numbers: (as of 10/6)

  • 7,787 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $8,810,169 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $6,069,834 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $2,740,336 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (as of 10/6)

  • 205 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $390,618 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $194,416 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $196,201 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.


HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

By the Numbers: (as of 10/6)

  • 311,127 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $934,841,263 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $703,031451 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $231,809,812 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $327,886,760 Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated** all of which are for Emergency Work (Categories A-B)

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

** Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

 

Hurricanes, Thursday, October 5, 2017

Congress

  • Congressional Briefing. The Hurricane Housing Recovery Coalition will conduct a Congressional Briefing on Tuesday, October 10 at 10:00 am ET. The briefing will be held in room SVC 210 of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, First St. NE, Washington, DC. After providing an update on federal housing recovery efforts in their communities, the panelists will discuss recommendations – endorsed by more than 500 national, state, and local organizations and governments – on immediate steps that Congress, FEMA, and HUD can take to ensure that federal housing recovery efforts reach the lowest income – and most vulnerable – households, who are often the hardest-hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover afterwards. The panelists are:
    • Suzanne Cabrera, Board of Directors, Florida Housing Coalition, and President and CEO, Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County
    • Chrishelle Palay, Houston Co-Director, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service (Texas Housers)
    • Pat Sheridan, Executive Vice President for Housing, Volunteers of America, speaking on housing needs in Puerto Rico
    • Chandra Crawford, Program and Policy Analyst, National Alliance to End Homelessness, speaking on lessons learned after Hurricane Katrina
    • Diane Yentel, President and CEO, National Low Income Housing Coalition
  • Hearing Request. Eleven Democrat Members of the House of Representatives sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. The Members request a hearing to explore how financial, real estate, and insurance firms can best respond to disaster recovery in a fashion that is quick and fair. The Members are concerned about excessive paperwork and recovery delays due to firms’ fear of fraud. The signatories request hearing witnesses from finance and insurance to discuss policies to avoid causing families from incurring excessive debt leading to insolvency or eviction from rental homes.

HUD

  • Public Housing and Voucher Waiver Notice. HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) published a pre-publication version of a notice that will be in the Federal Register on October 6, listing regulatory and administrative waivers it will consider if requested by public housing agencies (PHAs) in areas officially designated by the Major Disaster Declarations (MDD) following Hurricanes, Harvey, Irma, and Maria. PHAs may also request waivers not listed in the Federal Register. HUD will expedite all waiver requests by providing concurrent HUD Headquarters and Field Office reviews; typically, waiver requests are first submitted to the Field Office and subsequently reviewed by Headquarters. All approved waiver requests will be published in the Federal Register, identifying the PHAs receiving the approvals.

The Federal Register notice lists 20 potential waivers, half of which are only important to PHA staff, such as extending the time to submit financial audits or undertake energy audits. There are, however, ten potential waivers that might be important to residents and advocates:

  1. Allow a voucher exception payment standard of up to 150% of the Fair Market Rent (FMR); the regular exception payment standard is 110% FMR.
  2. Allow occupancy of more than two persons per room, provided the assisted household consents.
  3. Instead of requiring public notice in a newspaper when a PHA is preparing to open its voucher waiting list, allow a PHA to provide notice via its website, voicemail, or posting at its offices. HUD reminds PHAs to consider the fair housing implications of alternative notification measures, keeping in mind difficulties various approaches might cause for people with disabilities or limited English proficiency. PHAs will still be required to provide notice in minority media.
  4. Extend to 90 days, the timeframe to request “secondary verification” of immigration status from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
  5. Provide a number of exceptions related to demolition and/or disposition. There are five such waivers that warrant careful consideration by advocates.

The notice also lists three “flexibilities” applicable to the MDD PHAs, and four potential waivers pertaining to the Indian Housing Block Grant and the Indian Community Development Block Grant programs.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

OMB Recovery Estimates. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney released Memorandum M-18-01 requesting federal agencies to submit budget estimates for hurricane recovery support. Agencies have until October 25 to submit estimates and request to OMB. 

Other Organizations

  • Hurricane Support for Seniors Hotline. National Church Residences and LeadingAge have established a hotline for people over the age of 55 to answer disaster-related questions and make a referral.  The toll-free number is 844-259-4747, and a web form is available at seniorhotline.org. In addition, the two organizations ask those with available housing to notify them at senior help@nationalchurchresidences.org, indicating the name of the community or housing, address, rent amount, and willingness to provide short-term housing.
  • Grants to NeighborWorks Organizations. NeighborWorks America awarded 20 organizations in communities affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria with grants totaling $800,000. The nonprofits will use the grants to help meet any emerging on-the-ground needs, such as cleaning up properties, providing supplies to affected households, coordinating disaster response with other partners, supporting mobile intake centers, and rehab and repair efforts.

HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

U.S. Virgin Islands

By the Numbers: (unchanged from 10/2)

  • $10,510,000 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) dollars obligated**

**Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (unchanged from 10/3)

  • 13,832 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $6,916,000 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $6,916,000 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.


HURRICANE IRMA 

FEMA

Florida

By the Numbers: (as of 10/5)

  • 674,032 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $695,625,385 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $457,323,328 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $238,302,057 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

Georgia

By the Numbers: (as of 10/5)

  • 7,764 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $8,713,974 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $5,991,633 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $2,722,340 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

Local Perspectives

Empty Trailers. FEMA travel trailers that can be used as temporary housing sit empty in Key West even though an estimated 10,000 residents in the Florida Keys were left homeless by the storm. FEMA sees the trailers as a last resort since they need to be hooked up to electricity and other utilities.


HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

By the Numbers: (as of 10/5)

  • 307,913 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $896,844,108 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $669,955,793 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $226,888,314 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $323,886,760 Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated** all of which are for Emergency Work (Categories A-B)

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

** Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

TSA Resource App. FEMA has created an app that allows survivors in the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program easily find participating hotels in any part of the country. TSA provides hotel subsidies for those still looking for housing. 

Local Perspectives

  • Long Lines for D-SNAP. Thousands of people lined up to apply for Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (D-SNAP). After people waited in long lines on Monday, some having waited in line overnight, many were not able to submit applications because police dispersed the applicants because several individuals became unruly. Lines formed again on Tuesday as people stood in the rain to apply for D-SNAP, which can provide food assistance for up to two months.
  • Social Vulnerability Maps. Oxfam utilized data on social vulnerability and hurricane impacts (both flooding and wind damage) to create maps showing how various communities were affected by Hurricane Harvey. The data is down to the census tract level and is grouped by congressional district. Oxfam released a report as well as the interactive maps.

Hurricanes, Wednesday, October 4, 2017

HURRICANE MARIA

IRS

IRS Tax Relief. For residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who evacuated or were not able to return because of the hurricanes, IRS Notice 2017-56 provides some relief so these residents do not lose their status as “bona fide residents” of these territories for tax filing and reporting purposes. The notice extends the usual 14-day absence period to 117 days, beginning September 6, 2017 and ending December 31, 2017. In addition, an individual absent from the territories on any day during this 117-day period will be treated as leaving or being unable to return.

FEMA

U.S. Virgin Islands

By the Numbers: (unchanged from 10/2)

  • $10,510,000 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) dollars obligated**

**Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

  • HUD-Assisted Households. A FEMA Fact Sheet explains that people impacted by Hurricanes Maria or Irma who were receiving HUD rental assistance before the hurricanes should register with FEMA. This advice applies to households who were living in public housing, private homes with vouchers, or private homes assisted with project-based rental assistance. Displaced households may be eligible for temporary assistance to pay for a place to live until they return to HUD-assisted homes. They may also be eligible for grants to replace essential contents such as clothing and household items, as well as medical, dental, and burial expenses.
  • Increased Federal Cost Sharing. President Trump authorized an increase in the federal cost-share to 100% for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, for the U.S. Virgin Islands. The federal cost-share will decrease to a 90% federal cost-share (instead of a 75% federal cost-share) after 180 days.

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers: (unchanged from 10/3)

  • 13,832 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $6,916,000 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $6,916,000 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

USDA

Hot Food Allowed. USDA has allowed recipients of Puerto Rico’s Nutritional Assistance Program (NAP) to utilize their funds for prepared foods, such as sandwiches, pizza, or soup, that are generally not covered by food assistance.

Local Perspective

Resources for Persons with Disabilities in PR. A local organization in Puerto Rico, the Movement to Achieve Independent Living (MAVI), is conducting a study of the needs of individuals with disabilities that remain in shelters to better compile available resources. Groups can join their efforts by emailing MAVI’s director. There is also an app that helps coordinate efforts and resources.


HURRICANE IRMA

FEMA 

Florida 

By the Numbers: (unchanged from 10/3)

  • 673,124 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $691,373,241 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $453,771,427 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $237,601,814 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • Fact Sheet Defines “Substantial Damage.” A FEMA Fact Sheet reminds home owners that “substantial damage” is a technical term in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The term applies to a damaged structure in a Special Flood Hazard Area – or floodplain – for which the total cost of repairs is 50% or more of the structure’s market value before the disaster occurred. Property owners should consider this percentage when deciding whether to repair or replace a damaged dwelling, and when deciding whether additional work will be needed to comply with all local codes and ordinances, such as elevating a house in a floodplain.

Georgia

By the Numbers: (unchanged from 10/3)

  • 7,722 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $8,480,184 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $5,766,983 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $2,713,201 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.


HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

By the Numbers: (unchanged from 10/2)

  • 286,009 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $698,001,453 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $501,496,859 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $196,504,594 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $323,676,092 Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated** all of which are for Emergency Work (Categories A-B)

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

** Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

Small Business Administration

SBA reminds Texas private nonprofit organizations of the November 3 deadline to apply for an SBA federal disaster loan for property damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. Nonprofits of any size may apply for SBA federal disaster loans of up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. SBA can also lend additional funds to help with the cost of making improvements that protect, prevent or minimize the same type of disaster damage from occurring in the future.

In addition, SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help nonprofits meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury assistance is available regardless of whether the nonprofit suffered any property damage. Nonprofits have until June 4, 2018, to apply for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan.

Local Perspectives

Relief Funds Distributed. The first $7 million from a local relief fund established by Houston Mayor and a county judge was distributed to Harris County nonprofit organizations throughout the county.

General Update

Enterprise Recovery Fund. Enterprise Community Partners has created the Enterprise Hurricane Community Recovery Fund to support short- and long-term relief in areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Short-term relief efforts include grants to nonprofit organizations engaged in recovery services, including disaster case management, financial counseling, and mold remediation. To support longer-term rebuilding, the grants will provide funding for project planning, pre-development costs, and business continuity to ensure nonprofit organizations can operate over the long term. In addition, Enterprise, in partnership with the National Center for Healthy Housing, will update its how-to field guide, “Creating a Healthy Home: A Field Guide to Clean Up Flooded Homes.” An October 5, 2:00 pm ET webinar will be held on cleaning mold out of flooded homes.

Hurricanes, Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Information from Other National Organizations

  • ADA National Network/FEMA Webinar Series. When people are displaced from their homes during a disaster and find it necessary to stay in a community shelter, it is essential that community officials, responders, and shelter managers are prepared to provide service and reasonable accommodations to all shelter residents, including those with access and functional needs. The ADA National Network will hold a webinar on Thursday, October 12 at 2:30 ET. The webinar will describe how a Functional Assessment Service Team (FAST) can help people get what they need to safely stay in a community shelter and to assist them to return home as soon as possible. Register for the free webinar at http://www.adapresentations.org/registration.php
  • CAP Report. The Center for American Progress released a report detailing a “policy road map for Congress” with four priorities: build infrastructure to higher standards, update and utilize flood risk data, prioritize communities with fewer resources to rebuild, and plan ahead to lower risks and costs for future disasters.

HUD

  • Letter to PHAs. HUD sent an email to public housing agency (PHA) Executive Directors in Declared Disaster counties providing information regarding the availability of FEMA Public Assistance (PA) programs and data sharing.
    • PHAs may be eligible to apply for FEMA Public Assistance grants that cover emergency work that includes debris removal, demolition of unsafe structures, or boarding of windows, as well as permanent work.
    • HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) has been sending reports to PHAs about program participants who have registered for FEMA assistance. HUD will continue to send these reports on a regular basis.

HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

U.S. Virgin Islands

 By the Numbers:

  • $10,510,000 Emergency Work (Categories A-B) dollars obligated** (unchanged from 10/2)

**Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

Puerto Rico

By the Numbers:

  • 13,832 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $6,916,000 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $6,916,000 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

Florida Governor Assists Puerto Ricans. Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott, announced the opening of Disaster Relief Centers to assist households from Puerto Rico displaced by Hurricane Maria at the Orlando and Miami airports, as well as at the Port of Miami. The Governor also signed Executive Order 17-259 to provide Florida resources to assist households displaced from Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria who arrive in Florida. For example, Section 5 of the Executive Order provides that all public facilities such as schools owned or leased by the state, regional, or local governments that are suitable for use as public shelters shall be made available at the request of local emergency management agencies. Section 8 allows medical professionals, social workers, and counselors with professional licenses from other states to render free services to people affected by Hurricane Maria.

 Local Perspective

 Death toll. Puerto Rico’s Public Safety Secretary Héctor Pesquera acknowledged that the number of deaths resulting from Hurricane Maria exceeds the official government count of 16.


HURRICANE IRMA

FEMA

Florida

 By the Numbers: (as of 10/2)

  • 673,124 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $691,373,241 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $453,771,427 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $237,601,814 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

Increased Federal Cost Sharing. President Trump authorized an increase in the federal-cost share to 90% from 75% for debris removal and emergency protective measures in Florida for 30 days.

Georgia

By the Numbers: (as of 10/2)

  • 7,722 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $8,480,184 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $5,766,983 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $2,713,201 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.


HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

By the Numbers: (except for PA, unchanged from 10/2)

  • 286,009 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
  • $698,001,453 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
  • $501,496,859 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
  • $196,504,594 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
  • $323,676,092 Public Assistance Grants (PA) obligated** all of which are for Emergency Work (Categories A-B)

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

**Funds made available to the State via electronic transfer following FEMA’s final review and approval of Public Assistance projects.

Local Perspectives

  • Timing of HUD funds. Local and state officials in Texas continue to worry about the timeline of receiving disaster relief funds from HUD, pushing the agency to shorten comment periods. Officials are also nervous about how the $7.4 billion in CDBG-DR funds will be distributed between affected areas and within Texas.
  • Debris Removal. Neither city nor county officials in Houston have filed with FEMA to provide debris removal services for private properties, forcing residents to clean up themselves.