Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Tuesday, September 19, 2017

HURRICANE MARIA

FEMA

Puerto Rico

  • Emergency Declaration Declared. President Trump declared on September 18, that an emergency exists for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico due to conditions resulting from Hurricane Maria. FEMA has established the Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Emergency Disaster webpage (EM-3391).

Virgin Islands

  • Emergency Declaration Declared. President Trump declared on September 18, that an emergency exists for the U.S. Virgin Islands due to conditions resulting from Hurricane Maria. FEMA has established the U.S. Virgin Islands Hurricane Maria Emergency Disaster webpage (EM-3390).

Local Perspective

  • The Virgin Islands has paused Irma-related recovery efforts to prepare for another possible hit from Hurricane Maria.

HURRICANE IRMA

FEMA

Florida

  • By the Numbers: (As of Tuesday morning)
    • 142,265 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
    • $106,670,132 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
    • $38,227,132 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
    • $68,443,000 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • Amendments to Disaster Declaration.
    • A sixth and seventh amendment to the initial disaster declaration enables renters, homeowners, and business owners in 11 more counties to apply for FEMA Individual Assistance (IA), bringing the total to 48 counties.
    • Amendment Number 8 installs Willie Nunn as the Federal Coordinating Officer, replacing Justó Hernández.
  • Disaster Recovery Centers.  A DRC opened in St. Augustine. FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), volunteer groups, and other agencies are at the centers to answer questions about disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, and businesses. They can also help survivors apply for federal disaster assistance. Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) crews are canvassing many affected areas and are able to register people for FEMA assistance if needed. When residents require further assistance, the teams may refer them to a disaster recovery center. It is not necessary to visit a center to register for and receive federal disaster assistance. If possible, survivors should register with FEMA before visiting a recovery center.
  • FEMA Outreach Teams. FEMA outreach teams are canvasing the designated counties to help residents register for disaster assistance, provide application updates, and make referrals to additional community resources. FEMA has contracted housing inspectors to assess damage to homes for those who have already registered with FEMA.
  • Operation Blue Roof. Carried out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Operation Blue Roof, provides eligible homeowners with free, temporary blue plastic sheeting to help reduce further property damage until permanent roof repairs can be made. However, roofs with 50% or more structural damage are not eligible.
    • This activity is currently taking place in Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Henry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, and Sarasota counties.
    • There are currently seven locations where households can apply for Operation Blue Roof and complete the Right of Entry (ROE) form.
    • FAQs are answered.

Virgin Islands

  • Amendment to Disaster Declaration. Amendment Number 3 adds permanent work under the Public Assistance (PA) program Categories C-G for the three islands declared disaster areas, St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. Those islands were previously approved for PA under Categories A and B (debris removal and emergency protective measures), including direct federal assistance.

Puerto Rico

  • Amendment to Disaster Declaration. Amendment Number 2 makes 15 more municipalities eligible for Public Assistance (PA), bringing the total to 19.

Georgia

  • Major Disaster Declared. On September 15, the President raised the situation in Georgia from Emergency to a formal Disaster Declaration. FEMA’s has established a Georgia Hurricane Irma disaster page (DR-4338).
    • The Initial Disaster Declaration makes households in Camden, Chatham, and Glynn counties eligible for Individual Assistance (IA), and all 159 counties eligible for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, under the Public Assistance (PA) program. All areas of the state are eligible for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
    • Amendment Number 1 adds households in Liberty and McIntosh counties eligible for Individual Assistance.

Local Perspectives

  • Public Housing in VI. Residents of Estate Tutu Apartments, a public housing development on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, are being relocated as the building has suffered severe damage. Of the 285 families living there, 160 are in shelters, while others are still living in the damaged building. While finding local housing is preferred, many residents may have to move.
  • Affordable housing in the Keys. Hurricane Irma destroyed many of the trailers and mobile homes that constituted the limited amount of affordable housing in the Florida Keys. Low-income residents now worry that developers will use this as an opportunity to buy the trailer park’s land for luxury apartments, forcing them to leave the islands. Governor Rick Scott says he wants the Florida Keys open for business by October 1.
  • Housing in Immokalee. Collier County Housing Authority is opening temporary housing in Immokalee for up to 176 people displaced by Hurricane Irma.
  • Former President Bill Clinton dropped in on the shelter at the Miami-Dade County.

HURRICANE HARVEY

FEMA

  • By the Numbers: (As of Tuesday morning)
    • 237,618 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved*
    • $434,725,370 Individual & Household Program (IHP) approved*
    • $292,063,922 Housing Assistance (HA) approved*
    • $142,661,448 Other Needs Assistance (ONA) approved*
    • Public Assistance (PA) no longer indicated

*Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

  • More than $1 Billion Approved. FEMA reports that as of September 17, $1.09 billion in federal funds have been provided directly to residents to aid in personal recovery. This includes:
    • $333 million in FEMA grants for housing assistance, including emergency home repairs, replacement, and rental assistance.
    • $146 million in FEMA grants to replace essential personal property and help with medical, dental, legal, and other disaster-related expenses.
    • $347 million paid to National Flood Insurance Program policy holders in advance payments.
    • $265 million in Small Business Administration low-interest disaster loans for homeowners, renters, and businesses.

In addition, FEMA’s Public Assistance Program approved $181 million for local and state agencies to reimburse them for the cost of debris removal and emergency response. FEMA also made $516 million in mission assignments to more than two dozen federal agencies.

  • Amendments to Disaster Declaration. An eighth amendment authorizes federal funds for all categories of Public Assistance (PA) at a 90% federal cost-share, except for assistance previously approved at 100%. Amendment Number 4 on September 2 limited the 90% federal cost-share to debris removal and direct federal assistance.
  • Disaster Recovery Centers. Eight more DRCs have opened: Port Aranas and League City, Port Arthur, Dickinson, Bay City, Brookshire, Houston (at the Church Without Walls), and Orange.
  • FEMA Fact Sheets.
    • HUD-Assisted Households. People who were displaced from their HUD-assisted homes in one of the 39 designated disaster counties should register with FEMA, according to a FEMA Fact Sheet. 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.
    • Other Needs Assistance. Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grants are funded on a cost-share basis by FEMA and the State of Texas to assist Hurricane Harvey survivors. These grants can be used to repair or replace damaged personal property or to pay for disaster‐related necessary expenses and other serious needs. The state provides these grants to repair or pay for:
      • Disaster‐related medical or dental costs.
      • Disaster‐related funeral and burial costs.
      • Clothing, household items, tools required for work, and necessary educational materials.
      • Fuels for primary heat source.
      • Disaster‐specified clean‐up items.
      • A vehicle damaged by the disaster.
      • Moving and storage expenses related to the disaster to avoid additional disaster damage while disaster‐related repairs are being made to the home.
      • Other necessary expenses or serious needs as determined by the State and FEMA.
    • Critical Needs Assistance. FEMA has authorized Critical Needs Assistance (CNA) for households with immediate or serious needs due to being displaced from their primary dwelling. CAN is available in all 39 counties designated as disaster areas. Critical needs are life-saving and life-sustaining items including, but not limited to: water, food, first aid, prescriptions, infant formula, diapers, consumable medical supplies, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene items and fuel for transportation. To be eligible for CNA a survivor must complete a registration with FEMA.
    • Clean and Removal Assistance. FEMA has authorized Clean and Removal Assistance (CRA) for homeowners with disaster-related real property damage who do not qualify for Home Repair Assistance because the damage did not render the home uninhabitable. This assistance is intended to prevent additional loss and potential health and safety concerns and reduce contamination from floodwater. CRA is awarded as a one-time payment per household. This amount represents the average cost of cleaning, sanitizing, and removing carpet in a flooded dwelling in the designated area.
    • Register with FEMA Even if You Have Insurance. FEMA recommends registering with FEMA even if a household is covered by insurance or have registered with other agencies. There are situations in which insured households might still be eligible for FEMA assistance.

Local Perspectives

  • Rent Increases. Low income residents of Houston are unable to leave damaged units as rental prices increase in Houston. While some report landlords abusing their power to take advantage of the price increase, the majority of landlords are doing their best to accommodate tenants.
  • ID for D-SNAP. The Department of Health and Human Services has announced that they will take a client statement as a form of ID when applying for D-SNAP. Since many Texans have lost important documents, this will help more families buy food.
  • Temporary housing. Officials are struggling to house the tens of thousands of Texans who are unable to return to their homes. Shelters and hotels remain full, and while FEMA and other volunteers are working to quickly repair homes, this will be a slow process and a huge challenge. FEMA may begin to bring in trailers as a temporary option.

[Read more…]

Hurricane Housing Recovery Updates 9.8.17

CONGRESS

  • Initial Disaster Relief.President Trump has signed into law a $15.25 billion disaster relief bill in response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The bill combines disaster relief with several other must-pass bills to lift the debt ceiling, extend the National Flood Insurance program, and keep the government open through December 8 with a Continuing Resolution.  Of the $15.25 billion, $7.4 billion is for FEMA and $450 million is for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) disaster loan program. The bill also includes an additional $7.4 billion in CDBG Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) funds and provides HUD Secretary Ben Carson with broad discretion to allocate these resources directly to state and local governments. CDBG-DR funds will help local communities begin the recovery and rebuilding process more quickly.
  • Sandy Relief.Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) reintroduced H.R. 3679 to provide disaster-related tax relief, including an increase in Low Income Housing Tax Credits for states impacted by disasters and an increase in New Markets Tax Credits for states impacted by disasters from 2012 to 2015. This bill by Congressman from NY and NJ is intended to create an increased LIHTC and NMTC allocation for communities impacted by Superstorm Sandy. This bill may be expanded to include similar tax relief for states impacted by disasters in 2017.

FANNIE MAE and FREDDIE MAC

  • Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Flyer.Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have created a joint flyer to use to get the word out about mortgage relief options for those affected by natural disasters, including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Hurricane Harvey 

BY THE NUMBERS: (As of Friday afternoon)

  • 204,202 Individual Assistance (IA) applications approved
  • $216,226,132 total Individual & Household Program (IHP) dollars approved*
  • $107,772,244 total Housing Assistance (HA) dollars approved*
  • $108,453,888 total Other Needs Assistance (ONA) dollars approved*

*Dollars Approved: Assistance dollars approved but not necessarily disbursed.

LOCAL RESOURCES 

  • Unemployment Assistance.The Texas Workforce Commission has a special Hurricane Harvey webpage. 
  • Past Presidents.All five living former presidents of the United States have launched a joint effort to raise money for relief following Hurricane Harvey.

HUD

  • HUD Situation Report.HUD issued a Situation Report on September 7. Highlights of the report include:
    • There are 42 public housing agencies, with 773 properties containing 199,494 public housing units in the Hurricane Harvey impact area.
    • There are 454 Multifamily properties containing 50,818 units, 20,971 of which are assisted.
    • The Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) field staff are in regular contact with affected Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to gather information on families displaced, units available for leasing, and impacts to properties. As data is available, it is entered in the daily and weekly reports to HUD Headquarters. All PHAs have been advised of flexibilities PIH can offer, such as postponed physical inspections and reporting extensions.
    • The Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) advises that CDBG-DR funds be used to provide financial support for the development of an environmental health and housing registry.
    • HUD’s Office of Policy and Research is working with FEMA to facilitate information transfer that will allow HUD to identify the assisted housing residents in FEMA shelters and hotels. This will allow HUD to coordinate with grantees to get those families rehoused.
    • Information on persons with Housing Choice Voucher assistance will be delayed because PHAs need time to assess the habitability of all privately-owned rental properties. PIH will report any relevant information as it is received.
    • HUD assisted persons are being told by other agency staff that they are not eligible for FEMA assistance and should go through their PHA for assistance.
  •  HUD Multifamily Call.Janet Golrick, HUD Senior Advisor (and long-time Multifamily career staff person) and Bob Iber, Acting Deputy Assistant Director conducted a call for stakeholders on Friday afternoon, September 8. NLIHC participated on the call. The calls will be biweekly, with a goal of HUD and stakeholders sharing relevant information and raising concerns or questions.

Based on phone calls with owners, HUD estimates that about 200 properties have moderate-to-severe damage. HUD staff will start on-site visual inspections starting Monday, September 11, initially focusing on the Corpus Christi area, with some inspectors also beginning to make inspections in the Houston area. They anticipate inspections will take 3-4 weeks to complete. HUD staff has been looking for vacant units and sharing that information with FEMA.

FEMA has been surveying people at shelters. The survey has a question asking whether the household is HUD-assisted; however, some people may not know that their property is HUD-assisted. Multifamily is also using its TRACs system to figure out the names of assisted residents and compare that list to FEMA’s list of registrants for disaster assistance. Their goal it to identify any HUD-assisted households staying in hotels, shelters, or the convention center to place them instead into any vacant units they can identify. They will also identify HUD-assisted elderly households and/or people with disabilities and prioritize them for available accessible units.

REAC and MOR (management and occupancy reports) inspections will be on hold for 90 days in Texas and Florida. HUD will resume REAC and MOR activity in Louisiana. Based on its early assessments in Lake Charles, Louisiana and surrounding areas, none of the HUD-assisted Multifamily stock encountered damage. HUD is expediting its reserve for replacement procedures.

In answer to a question about where else HUD may look to house residents displaced from HUD-assisted housing, they referenced the ‘pass-through’ option described in HUD Handbook 4350.1 REV-1, CHG-2, “Multifamily Asset Management and Project Servicing,” Chapter 38: Multifamily Emergency/Disaster Guidance. One of the relevant provisions allows the owner of property A to identify another property, B, and pass property A’s subsidy to property B on a temporary basis while property A is being renovated.

Regarding Hurricane Irma, HUD affiliated owners in Puerto Rico have already reported some damaged properties. HUD is reaching out to all HUD affiliated owners and managers in Florida, in anticipation of a need to quickly assess damage in the state next week.

  • Secretary Carson Interviews.Secretary Carson has given a series of interviews on recovery efforts.  

FEMA

  • Disaster Recovery Centers.Five more Disaster Recovery Centers were opened: Goliad, Ingleside, Missouri City, Port Lavaca, and Victoria.

IRS

  • Low Income Housing Tax Credits.Mississippi, Ohio, and Oregon join other states in allowing owners of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties to provide up to twelve months of emergency housing to households that have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey, even if they are not income-eligible. IRS Revenue Procedures 2014-49 and 2014-50provide guidance. 

Hurricane Irma

LOCAL RESOURCE AND PERSPECTIVES

  • AirBNB.The company is offering free lodging to help residents weather the impending disaster of Hurricane Irma.
  • Developers Prepare for Irma.Affordable housing developers are making preparations for their residents in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
  • Hurricane Matthew.Many people in Irma’s path have not fully recovered from Hurricane Matthew, which struck last year. 

FEMA

  • Presidential Disaster Declaration for U.S. Virgin Islands.President Donald J. Trump declared on September 7 that a major disaster exists in the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands and ordered federal aid to supplement recovery efforts in the territory due to Hurricane Irma beginning on September 6, 2017, and continuing. This makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the islands of St. John and St. Thomas.
    • FEMA has a webpage for Virgin Islands Hurricane Irma (DR-4335).
    • William L. Vogel has been named as Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
  • Presidential Emergency Declaration for Florida.President Trump declared on September 5, that an emergency exists in Florida, authorizing FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts. Specifically, this authorizes FEMA to provide debris removal and emergency protective measures (Categories A and B), including to direct federal assistance, under FEMA’s Public Assistance program for all 67 counties.
    • FEMA has a webpage for Florida Hurricane Irma (EM-3385).
    • Justo Hernández was named Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery.
  • Presidential Emergency Declaration for Puerto Rico. President Trump declaredon September 5, that an emergency exists for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts. Specifically, this authorizes FEMA to provide debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, under FEMA’s Public Assistance program for all 78 municipalities.
    • FEMA has a webpage Puerto Rico Hurricane Irma (EM-3384).
    • Alejandro DeLaCampa was named the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected areas.
  • Presidential Emergency Declaration for South Carolina.President Trump declared on September 7, that an emergency exists in South Carolina, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts. Specifically, this authorizes FEMA to provide debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, under FEMA’s Public Assistance program for all 46 counties and the Catawba Indian Nation.
    • FEMA has a webpage for South Carolina Hurricane Irma (EM-3386).
    • Willie G. Nunn was named as Federal Coordinating Officer for federal response operations in the affected area.
  • Presidential Emergency Declaration for Georgia.President Trump declared on September 8, that an emergency exists in Georgia, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts. Specifically, this authorizes FEMA to provide debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, under FEMA’s Public Assistance program for the counties of Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Coffee, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Jenkins, Jeff Davis, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Pierce, Screven, Tattnall, Toombs, Treutlen, Wayne, and Ware.
    • FEMA has a webpage for Georgia Hurricane Irma (EM-3387).
    • Thomas J. McCool was named as Federal Coordinating Officer for federal response operations in the affected area.

HUD

Homeland Security (DHS)

  • Undocumented Individuals.DHS issued a statement about immigration enforcement as Hurricane Irma approaches, claiming “DHS will not conduct non-criminal immigration enforcement operations in the affected area…When it comes to rescuing people in the wake of Hurricane Irma, immigration status is not and will not be a factor.”
  • ICE Detainees.In the same DHS statement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees from the Krome Detention Center, Monroe County Jail, Broward Transitional Center, and Glades Detention Center are being temporarily transferred to various other detention facilities outside the projected path of the hurricane.