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Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition

The second anniversary of Hurricane Harvey is approaching and recovery efforts at all levels of government and at personal residences are continually in motion. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it will publish a Federal Register notice regarding the release of CDBG disaster mitigation funds in two tranches. Texas is expected to receive funds from the first allocation. Governor Abbott thanked HUD for their on-going support as Texas recovers from the one of the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

A number of states and Puerto Rico are recovering from the natural disasters that have occurred over the last two years. The speed and efficiency of federal funding distribution and local efforts to serve the unmet needs of their communities has not come without criticism – to help improve the recovery process for future events. With this in mind, Senators Brian Schatz (R-ID) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the senate version of the “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019” (S. 2301). This bill has a house companion, H.R. 3702, filed by Representative Al Green (D-TX-9). This bill would permanently authorize the CDBG-DR program to provide resources to help communities rebuild affordable housing and infrastructure following a disaster and provide safeguards and tools to ensure funding reaches households with the greatest unmet needs. NLIHC produced a fact sheet on this legislation which can be downloaded here.

In addition to filed federal legislation, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush authored an op-ed in Politico calling for two main fixes at the federal level for aid better disaster recovery. “The lessons Texas learned in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey can help all states facing natural disasters. Congress should learn these lessons from Texas now, before catastrophic events hit Americans in other parts of the country.”

Similarly, the Center for American Progress authored a white paper titled, “A Perfect Storm – Extreme Weather as an Affordable Housing Crisis Multiplier”, on how natural disaster exacerbate displacement, housing poverty, and homelessness. “This report provides background on the interrelated crises of homelessness and rising housing costs in the United States. It discusses how the increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, coupled with inequities in the country’s disaster response systems, has disproportionate, hard-hitting impacts on frontline communities—including low-income individuals and people experiencing homelessness. Finally, the report discusses the five recommendations […] for policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels.”

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