Housing Option Ignored by FEMA in FL

From the Orlando Sentinel: FEMA Ignores Housing Option for Displaced Families. At issue is HUD’s Disaster Housing Assistance Program. Here are some details:

DHAP could provide temporary rental assistance and wrap-around case management to low-income families in need, helping them find permanent housing solutions, secure employment, and connect to public benefits as they rebuild their lives. The program was developed after hard-won lessons from Hurricane Katrina, and has been used successfully after Hurricanes Rita, Gustav and Ike and Superstorm Sandy. After previous storms, steps were taken to stand up DHAP as quickly as two weeks after a disaster. Both the Bush and Obama administrations recognized DHAP as a best practice after disasters.

The Trump administration, unfortunately, is instead either relying on failed responses from previous storms that led to the need to create DHAP in the first place or trying new ineffective pilot programs. Administrator Brock Long testified last week before Congress that he favored shifting responsibilities for disaster housing recovery from the federal government onto the states and Puerto Rico. But the state-run disaster housing programs put in place as an alternative to DHAP have been plagued by significant delays. Fewer than 320 households in Florida and 150 households in Texas are in the pipeline to receive state housing assistance. FEMA’s experiment has fallen woefully short.

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