“Disaster Housing Construction Challenges”

From MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics a new report that outlines new ideas to address the nation’s disaster housing challenges: Disaster Housing Construction Challenges in America: Exploring the Role of Factory-Built HousingPress Release and direct URL to full report, which is 44 pages.

The report includes 11 recommendations for emergency managers; housing agencies; policymakers at state, local, tribal, territorial, and federal levels; leaders in the building code community; home construction companies; and others who have a goal of addressing challenges around disaster housing.  While factory-built housing is not a panacea, it should be a key component of the nation’s housing stock at a time when both the severity and frequency of natural disasters are increasing, and states continue to struggle to meet the demand for affordable housing.

Disaster housing is a challenge without easy answers or straightforward solutions.  Researchers at MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics have compiled their take on ways to improve our nation’s ability to take on disaster housing challenges.  More advanced construction methods can help ease some of the burden but will require action from policymakers, code officials and the construction industry.

Thanks to Dana Bres, U.S. Dept. of HUD, for this citation.

Housing Aid Lagging in FL Post H. Michael

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.

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.

PreFab Homes as Replacement Housing

Prefab Finds a Home in Fire-Ravaged Neighborhoods of California.

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