Earlier this year, HUD developed a new “disaster standalone partial claim” program to help homeowners who have mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration avoid foreclosure. However, unnecessary barriers to enrollment and the limited scope of the program place this critical lifeline out of reach for too many families struggling after recent storms and other disasters.
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.
For decades, utopian designers and populist dreamers have glorified prefabricated housing. The idea to mass-produce a home like an automobile, with much of the process standardized in a factory, promised greater efficiency and lower costs than traditional stick-built architecture.
“It’s a dream that has confounded generations of architects and developers,” said Amanda Dameron, until recently the editor in chief of Dwell, a shelter magazine that is one of prefab’s biggest proselytize
From the New Yorker: A Floating House to Resist the Floods of Climate Change.
From Bloomberg News: Mobile Homes Are So Expensive Now, Hurricane Victims Can’t Afford Them.The industry was struggling to keep up with demand even before this year’s natural disasters.
From the Wash Post: With thousands still in shelters, FEMA’s caution about temporary housing hinders hurricane recovery, An excerpt:
The triple-punch of the three hurricanes has created a housing challenge for FEMA that is unmatched since Katrina. In Texas, an estimated 1.2 million homes were damaged or destroyed. In Florida, where estimates are still being tabulated, the number is already in the tens of thousands. In Puerto Rico, about 250,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.
From Bloomberg News: HUD Explores Temporarily Housing Puerto Ricans on U.S. Mainland
Update on Nov. 1: Here is the FEMA info re transitional housing available in the U.S. mainland.
This article brings up an important matter, which I have not seen addressed before. See:
After Hurricanes, Public Housing May Never Get Rebuilt. When destroyed by disaster, public housing has historically taken years to be replaced — if at all. What happens to low-income residents in the meantime?
Thanks to Regine Webster for the citation.
Tornadoes and mobile homes do not mix to begin with, but throw in the volatility of climate change and the potential for massive property damage and deaths is even higher in coming decades. The number of mobile homes in the United States has risen dramatically in the past 60 years, to about 9 million currently. Meanwhile, the United States is the most tornado-prone country in the world, with an average of 1,200 twisters per year.
The annual impact of tornadoes is expected to increase threefold over the next few decades due to the “twin forces of increased climate variability and growth in the human-built environment,” according to the study, which is published online in the journal Regional Science and Urban Economics.
From a banking community website, this practical information on how to get ready for a disaster: 6 Ways to Prep Your Home for Natural Disasters . Preparing for natural disasters can help you prevent loss of life and property.