Hurricane Ian Disaster Guide

Hurricane Ian hit Florida’s southwest coast as a Category 4 storm with 155 mph winds on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Over 2.5 million residents across Florida are without power and many must boil their water. Lee and Charlotte counties were hit the hardest with major flooding and wind damage. The governor has declared a state of emergency and President Biden has ordered federal aid to support recovery efforts. The storm weakened as it moved northeast over the state and is expected to move off the coast Thursday and approach the coast of Georgia and South Carolina on Friday.

HAC offers the following resources with information for nonprofits dealing with loss and damage from Hurricane Ian: Rural Resilience in the Face of Disaster site and Disaster Response for Rural Communities Guide.

If you are in need of emergency, transient housing, you can text SHELTER and your Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find where the shelter closest to you is located.

TIPS

Please keep in mind the following safety protocols for hurricanes and flooding:

  • Only call 911 if you have an immediate need for medical attention or evacuation assistance.
  • If you can’t get through to 911 on first try, keep calling.
  • DO NOT DRIVE through high water and DO NOT DRIVE AROUND BARRICADES! Just 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • DO NOT WALK through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down. 4
  • If your home floods, STAY THERE. You are safer at home than trying to navigate flooded streets on foot.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is NOT MOVING, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter MOVING water.
  • STAY AWAY from streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
  • MOVE important items – especially important documents like insurance policies – to the highest possible floor. This will help protect them from flood damage.
  • DISCONNECT electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. You could be electrocuted.

This flooding event is a reminder that all residents in this area should carry flood insurance. Contact your insurance agent for more information about purchasing flood insurance or visit the National Flood Insurance Program at www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program or call 1-888-379-9531. Please keep in mind that new insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect.

If your home has experienced damage, remember to check the outside of your home before you enter. Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundations cracks, missing support beams, or other damage. It may be safest to ask a building inspector of contractor to check the structure before you enter. Do not force jammed doors open, as they may be providing needed support to the rest of the home. Sniff for gas to ensure there are no natural or propane gas leaks. If you do have a propane tank system, make sure to turn off all valves and contact a propane supplier to check the system before you use it again. Check floors and ceilings to ensure they are not sagging from water damage. This can be especially hazardous. Take photographs of any damage as you may need them for insurance claims or FEMA claims later on.

RESOURCES

Apply for FEMA Assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. FEMA Disaster Assistance Helpline answers questions about the help offered by FEMA, how to apply for assistance, or the information in your account.
Toll-free helpline: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
For hearing impaired callers only:
1-800-462-7585 (TTY)
1-800-621-3362 (Video Relay Service)
Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET

American Red Cross Disaster Service: For referrals and updates on Red Cross shelter services in your area, locate a local Red Cross office through: https://www.redcross.org/find-help or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The Red Cross helps disaster victims by providing safe shelter, hot meals, essential relief supplies, emotional support and health services like first aid. Trained Red Cross workers often meet one-on-one with families to develop individual plans and identify available resources to help aid recovery.

Fannie Mae Disaster Response Network:

English

Spanish

 

STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES

Florida

Florida Division of Emergency Management

2555 Shumard Oak Blvd.

Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2100

Phone: (850) 815-4000

https://www.floridadisaster.org/

Georgia

Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency

935 United Ave. SE

Atlanta, GA 30316-0055

Phone: (404) 635-7200

https://gema.georgia.gov/locations

South Carolina

South Carolina Emergency Management Division

Phone: (803) 737-8500

https://www.scemd.org/

 

STATE HOUSING AGENCIES

Florida

Florida Housing Finance Corporation

227 N Bronough Street, Suite 5000

Tallahassee, FL 32301-1367

Phone: (850) 488-4197

http://www.floridahousing.org

Georgia

Georgia Department of Community Affairs / Georgia Housing and Finance Authority

60 Executive Park South NE

Atlanta, GA 30329-2231

Phone: (404) 679-4940

http://www.dca.ga.gov

South Carolina

South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authority

300 Outlet Pointe Boulevard, Suite C

Columbia, SC 29210

Phone: (803) 896-9001

Fax: (803) 551-4876

http://www.schousing.com

 

DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT STATE FIELD OFFICES

Florida

    Jacksonville Field Office

Charles E. Bennett Federal Building

400 W. Bay Street, Suite 1015

Jacksonville, FL 32202

Phone: (904) 232-2627

Director: Alesia Scott-Ford

https://www.hud.gov/states/florida/offices

    Miami Field Office

Brickell Plaza Federal Building

909 SE First Avenue, Room 500

Miami, FL 33131-3028

Phone: (305) 536-4456

Director: Luis M. Rolle

Georgia

Atlanta Regional Office

Five Points Plaza Building

40 Marietta Street

Atlanta, GA 30303

Phone: (404) 331-5136

Regional Administrator: José Alvarez

Phone: (678) 732-2200

https://www.hud.gov/states/georgia/offices

South Carolina

Columbia Field Office

Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Strom Thurmond Federal Building

1835 Assembly Street, 13th Floor

Columbia, SC 29201

Phone: (803) 765-5592

Director- Kristine Foye

https://www.hud.gov/states/south_carolina

 

USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT STATE OFFICES

Florida

4500 NW 27th Avenue

Suite D-2

Gainesville, FL 32606
Phone: (352) 338-3400

Director: Lakeisha Hood

https://www.rd.usda.gov/fl-vi

Georgia

Stephens Federal Building

355 E. Hancock Avenue, Stop 300

Athens, GA 30601-2768

Phone: (706) 546-2162

Director: Reggie Taylor

https://www.rd.usda.gov/ga

South Carolina

Strom Thurmond Federal Building

1835 Assembly Street, Room 1007

Columbia, SC 29201

Phone: (803) 765-5163

Director: Dr. Saundra Glover

https://www.rd.usda.gov/sc

 

 

Hurricane Fiona Disaster Guide

Información en español aqui.

Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico’s southwest coast on Sunday, September 18, 2022 as a Category 1 storm. As the hurricane makes its way towards the Dominican Republic, the territory is still experiencing devastating flooding, power outages, massive landslides, and heavy rain, with as much as 30 inches of rain fall in some areas. President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency and Puerto Rico’s governor Pedro Pierluisi says the government is working closely with FEMA as they continue to assess the damage. HAC offers the following resources with information for nonprofits dealing with loss and damage from Hurricane Fiona: Rural Resilience in the Face of Disaster site and Disaster Response for Rural Communities Guide.

Puerto Rican Officials have stated that the territory has shelters available for those that have been displaced by the storm. Although the island’s National Guard is currently conducting rescue operations, Governor Pierluisi urges residents to remain in their homes and shelters as officials work to respond to those in need.

If you or your family has been affected by Hurricane Fiona, or wish to help victims of the hurricane, organizations like Con PR Metidos, Red Cross, and Americares all have resources available. If you are in need of emergency, transient housing, you can text SHELTER and your Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find where the shelter closest to you is located.

Apply for FEMA Assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. FEMA Disaster Assistance Helpline answers questions about the help offered by FEMA, how to apply for assistance, or the information in your account.
Toll-free helpline: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
For hearing impaired callers only:
1-800-462-7585 (TTY)
1-800-621-3362 (Video Relay Service)
Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET

American Red Cross Disaster Service: For referrals and updates on Red Cross shelter services in your area, locate a local Red Cross office through: https://www.redcross.org/find-help or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
The Red Cross helps disaster victims by providing safe shelter, hot meals, essential relief supplies, emotional support and health services like first aid. Trained Red Cross workers often meet one-on-one with families to develop individual plans and identify available resources to help aid recovery.

 

DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT FIELD OFFICE

Puerto Rico
San Juan Field Office
235 Federico Costa Street, Suite 200, San Juan, PR 00918
Phone: +1 787-274-5846
Director: Efraín Maldonado

 

USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT  FIELD OFFICE
Camuy Sub-Area Office
EDIF 654 Plaza Suite 601
654 Ave. Munoz Rivera
San Juan, PR  00918-4129
Phone: (787) 766-5095
Director: Luis R. Garcia

 

STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES

Central Office
Sr. Nino Correa Filomeno
Comisionado Interino
Email: ncorrea@prema.pr.gov
Phone: 787-724-0124

San Juan Zone
Zone Director: Sr. Jaime González
Email: jgonzalez@prema.pr.gov
Phone: 787-294-0277

Vega Baja Zone
Zone Director: Sr. Víctor Sánchez Rivera
Email: vsanchez@prema.pr.gov
Phone: 787-965-7770

Arecibo Zone
Zone Director: Sr. Juan C. Santos Santos
Email: aperez@prema.pr.gov
Phone: 787-878-9454

Aguadilla Zone
Zone Director: Sr. Elvis Morales
Email: emorales@prema.pr.gov
Phone: 787-882-6871

Mayagüez Zone
Zone Director: Sr. Alberto Trabal Alicea
Email: atrabal@prema.pr.gov
Phone: 787-833-7272

Ponce Zone
Zone Director: Sr. Paul D. Fourquet
Email: pfourquet@prema.pr.gov
Phone: 787-844-1763

Guayama Zone
Zone Director: Sr. Carlos A. Reyes
Email: careyes@prema.pr.gov
Phone: 787-864-1600

Caguas Zone
Zone Director: Sr. George L. Pacheco
Email: gpacheco@prema.pr.gov
Phone: 787-656-9643

Humacao Zone
Zone Director: Sr. Orlando Díaz flores
Email: odiaz@prema.pr.gov 
Phone: 787-852-4044

Ceiba Zone
Zone Director: Sr. Francisco Bruno Orellano
Email: fbruno@prema.pr.gov
Phone: 787-863-3330

 

Housing After Disasters and the Importance of Comprehensive and Equitable Recovery Policies

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University released a blog post about improving HUD’s CDBG-DR program. Carlos Martin, Project Director of Remodeling Futures Program, writes:

Repairs after major disasters are an increasing portion of home improvement activity, but there are many households who either cannot afford these repairs, or who are not in a position to recover from these events quickly, such as renters. Managed by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) fund helps cities, counties, and states recover from presidentially-declared disasters. The program fills needs that remain after a disaster and after other assistance is exhausted. These are needs that persist particularly for residents who cannot recover on their own. Disasters have a long-term negative impact on the housing and household finances of survivors for years after the event and, without assistance, the impact is longer and deeper. The depth of impact holds true across jurisdictions regardless of their size or populations, of the severity of disaster damages, or of the political composition of state and local leaders. CDBG-DR has made a quantitative and qualitative difference in many survivors’ lives. And while Congress has relied on CDBG-DR to provide flexible, long-term recovery assistance to communities in need, Congress has not provided permanent authorization for the program.

Despite the effectiveness of CDBG-DR, there is of course room for improvement to the program. HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) has been forthcoming about the improvements identified by its own staff and from past and current grantees. And they have acted on them. One study I conducted for HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research noted an increased speed in HUD’s processes over a decade of disasters beginning with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But opportunities exist for 1) consistency, 2) efficiency and speed, 3) comprehensively serving the most severely affected communities and households, and 4) monitoring compliance with all federal statutes.

As I testified in a Senate hearing at the end of last year, CDBG-DR’s lack of permanent statutory authority has impeded consistency. If the program were codified through permanent, congressional authorization, it could yield consistent rules; standardized and more sophisticated reporting and recordkeeping; and more uniform technical assistance offerings. There are also benefits for HUD and its grantees in their planning and timing from the consistency that would be established through permanent authorization.

Next, speed is impeded by the uncertain and delayed access to funds. In my study, the length of time between the disaster and HUD’s allocation—that is, the federal activity before state and local grantees are directly involved—shapes the time after in which grantees design, launch, and ramp up their programs. I have encountered numerous cases where jurisdictions were unable to plan, act, and/or inform households of their options because of the lack of knowledge about whether and when funds would come. This omission leads to suboptimal recovery for everyone. Efficient—and early—resources and knowledge make a difference in lives and livelihoods.

HUD’s general CDBG program has a requirement to serve low-to-moderate income households that could be pursued even more deeply with a permanently authorized CDBG-DR. Research shows that survivor households continue to slip through the cracks because they lack the resources to wait or absorb delay and change. Extremely low-income households and renters are particularly vulnerable. These groups suffer from even modest financial hits and personal damages. They could benefit from the changes I have already mentioned simply because clearer rules and faster funding would help jurisdictions catch them before they slip through the cracks.

But with these changes, there is an increased responsibility to make it easier for the most vulnerable households to apply, qualify, and access assistance. HUD and its grantees could also aggressively expand robust, consistent, and transparent data about the household beneficiaries once given the breathing space of permanent authorization and early fund dispersals. Ensuring that data gaps are filled will help HUD and the federal government confirm that grantees will both use funds effectively and in ways that target households with the most severe and ongoing vulnerabilities.

The Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery fund serves as a bridge between immediate crisis and long-term community development. Yet, that bridge has been temporary and ephemeral without the stability of statutory program authority or the security of resources to let households and communities decide their path to becoming whole. Future disasters are certain. We must respond with equal certainty and purposeful clarity.

 

HUD CDBG-DR grantees surveyed

Bipartisan Policy Center surveyed CDBG-DR grantees to better support communities as they recover from disasters. Takeaways include almost all respondents found CDBG-DR funding to be somewhat or very important to their state or community’s recovery and 69 percent of survey respondents say that housing is the unmet need that CDBG-DR funding has been most important in addressing. See survey results.

Eastern Kentucky Flooding Disaster Guide

Since July 26th southeastern Kentucky has seen some of the worst flooding in the state’s history, according to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. The region has received about 12 inches of rain with another two expected on Friday. So far 15 fatalities have been reported and hundreds are trapped in flooded areas. Hundreds of homes are expected to be destroyed by this flood, along with vital infrastructure in many towns and rural areas. This disaster is ongoing, and the full impacts have not been assessed yet. HAC offers the following guide as a source of information for individuals and families dealing with direct housing loss and damage from the rain and flooding. For more information, please see HAC’s disaster resources: Rural Resilience and Disaster Response for Rural Communities Guide.

If your house is inaccessible or currently uninhabitable, emergency, transient housing will likely be made available to provide immediate shelter for those in need. Organizations and resources available to assist with emergency transient housing in previous similar disasters include the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Church World Service, Mennonite Disaster Service, and state- and city-run emergency shelters. If you are in need of emergency, transient housing, you can text SHELTER and your Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find where the shelter closest to you is located.

FEMA makes available temporary assistance funding for residents of counties affected by flooding. Temporary assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. To see if you are eligible for funding, you can apply online at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or call FEMA’s toll-free helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA(3362). When applying, make sure to have a pen and paper as well as the following information: your social security number, current and pre-disaster address, a telephone number where you can be contacted, insurance information, total household income, a routing and account number from your bank if you are interested in having disaster assistance funds transferred directly into your bank account, and a description of your losses that were caused by the disaster.

Tips

Please keep in mind the following safety protocols for flooding:

  • Only call 911 if you have an immediate need for medical attention or evacuation assistance.
  • If you can’t get through to 911 on first try, keep calling.
  • DO NOT DRIVE through high water and DO NOT DRIVE AROUND BARRICADES! Just 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • DO NOT WALK through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down.
  • If your home floods, STAY THERE. You are safer at home than trying to navigate flooded streets on foot.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is NOT MOVING, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter MOVING water.
  • STAY AWAY from streams, rivers, and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can flood quickly and with little warning.
  • MOVE important items – especially important documents like insurance policies – to the highest possible floor. This will help protect them from flood damage.
  • DISCONNECT electrical appliances and do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. You could be electrocuted.

This flooding event is a reminder that all residents in this area should carry flood insurance. Contact your insurance agent for more information about purchasing flood insurance or visit the National Flood Insurance Program at www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program or call 1-888-379-9531. Please keep in mind that new insurance policies take 30 days to go into effect.

If your home has experienced damage, remember to check the outside of your home before you enter. Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundations cracks, missing support beams, or other damage. It may be safest to ask a building inspector or contractor to check the structure before you enter. Do not force jammed doors open, as they may be providing needed support to the rest of the home. Sniff for gas to ensure there are no natural or propane gas leaks. If you do have a propane tank system, make sure to turn off all valves and contact a propane supplier to check the system before you use it again. Check floors and ceilings to ensure they are not sagging from water damage. This can be especially hazardous. Take photographs of any damage as you may need them for insurance claims or FEMA claims later on.

Resources

Apply for FEMA Assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. FEMA Disaster Assistance Helpline answers questions about the help offered by FEMA, how to apply for assistance, or the information in your account.

Toll-free helpline: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
For hearing impaired callers only:
1-800-462-7585 (TTY)
1-800-621-3362 (Video Relay Service)
Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET

American Red Cross Disaster Service: For referrals and updates on Red Cross shelter services in your area, locate a local Red Cross office through: https://www.redcross.org/find-help or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
The Red Cross helps disaster victims by providing safe shelter, hot meals, essential relief supplies, emotional support and health services like first aid. Trained Red Cross workers often meet one-on-one with families to develop individual plans and identify available resources to help aid recovery.

STATE HOUSING AGENCY
Kentucky Housing Corporation
1231 Louisville Road, Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone:502-564-7630
Phone: 800-633-8896 (KY only)
https://www.kyhousing.org

HUD STATE FIELD OFFICE

Gene Snyder Courthouse
601 W. Broadway, Room 110
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: (502) 582-5251
Fax: (502) 582-6074
TTY: (800) 648-6056
Email: Customer Service

USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT STATE OFFICE

Thomas Carew, State Director
771 Corporate Drive, Suite 200
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: (859) 224-7300
Fax: (855) 661-8335
https://www.rd.usda.gov/ky

STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
Kentucky Emergency Management
100 Minuteman Pkwy, Frankfort, KY 40601
Phone: (800) 255-2587
https://kyem.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Solar panels covering parking spaces at Calistoga Family Apartmentshttps://flic.kr/p/CpXy7x The U.S. Department of Agriculture

Housing Assistance Council Receives Gift from Mackenzie Scott

Contact: Jennifer McAllister
(202) 842-8600
jennifer@ruralhome.org

Washington, DC, March 23, 2022 – The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is pleased to announce a $7,000,000 gift from MacKenzie Scott, the largest private gift in HAC’s 50-year history. HAC will leverage this funding to establish and grow local organizations that build affordable housing in the nation’s poorest and most rural places. This gift ensures that more people and more communities will enjoy the benefits of American prosperity.

“HAC and our local partners work in small towns and rural communities to develop good quality housing that folks can afford,” said HAC CEO David Lipsetz. “Ms. Scott’s trust in our organization and encouragement to do more will help plenty of communities in need.”

“This gift helps HAC remain true to its mission,” said Maria Luisa Mercado, HAC’s Board Chair. “We will continue to be the voice for the poorest of the poor in the most rural places.”

About the Housing Assistance Council

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit that supports affordable housing efforts throughout rural America. Since 1971, HAC has provided: below-market financing for affordable housing and community development; technical assistance and training for community-based organizations; research on life in rural places; and information for federal policy-makers on the impact of their work on rural places. To learn more, visit www.ruralhome.org.

###

House on Native American Land, ND

Self-Determination in Tribal Housing: Reflections on NAHASDA’s Impact

Twenty-five years ago, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA) overhauled federal housing policy for tribal lands. One of its primary goals was to respect the sovereignty of tribes by giving them more power to determine how their federal housing funding is spent. Reauthorizing NAHASDA and making targeted improvements to build upon its first twenty-five years of achievements is one of HAC’s 2022 Rural Housing Policy Priorities.

We asked four experts on housing in Indian Country to reflect on NAHASDA and its impact.

 

Tony Walters

Tony Walters

Tony Walters, Executive Director, National American Indian Housing Council

Washington, DC

Tony Walters explains that NAHASDA “definitely has been a success.” By expanding the capacity of tribal housing authorities to meet the needs of their communities, the act has improved the quality and quantity of tribal housing.

Under NAHASDA, tribal housing authorities receive dedicated, reliable funding. As Walters points out, this steady stream of funds has “put tribes into a position where they can build homes quickly.” It has also increased their capacity, making other federal housing programs (like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit) more accessible. While tribes undoubtedly need increased resources to offset thirty years of flat funding, NAHASDA has put many tribal housing authorities closer to their goal of being “one stop shops” for all the housing needs of Tribe members. Simply put, there’d be fewer homes without NAHASDA, Walters explains.

Additionally, self-determination has given tribes more ability to tailor housing development to their specific needs. Unlike the former system of federally built homes, the current system allows tribes the flexibility to include important “cultural elements” like community centers and to decide the specific number and location of new homes.

“Housing is the foundation of any community,” Walters notes. While NAHASDA has helped strengthen the foundations of many communities, Walters cautions that increased funding, capacity, and cooperation between government programs are needed to prevent tribal housing projects from “falling through the cracks.” The solution, as Walters sees it, is to expand on the work of NAHASDA by strengthening capacity building and increasing resources.

 

Twila Martin-KeKahbah

Twila Martin-KeKahbah

Twila Martin-Kekahbah, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and HAC board member

Belcourt, ND

Twila Martin-Kekahbah opposed NAHASDA when it was proposed, and still believes that the law has failed to live up to its intentions. While the homes built under the law are successes, they’re nowhere near what is needed.

As she explains, the law recognizes the importance of tribal sovereignty, but it doesn’t provide the level of financial support or assistance necessary to help tribes build their capacity. In other words, NAHASDA’s model of self-determination doesn’t work if tribes don’t have the funding or capacity to act on it. Martin-Kekahbah noted that under NAHASDA, federal experts withdrew from areas where they’d been running housing programs, leaving tribal housing authorities unprepared for the responsibilities before them.

While the intentions of the act were noble, she is left asking a challenging question: “Why would housing be so bad right now if NAHASDA was so great?”

 

Rebecca Patnaude-Olander

Rebecca Patnaude-Olander

Rebecca Patnaude-Olander, Executive Director, Turtle Mountain Housing Authority

Belcourt, ND

Rebecca Patnaude-Olander explained that NAHASDA’s self-determination only allows her housing authority to “be self-determining within guidelines” established by the statute. The Turtle Mountain Housing Authority spends 90% of its budget on operations and upkeep of existing units, with very little left over for new development. While the choice of how to spend federal funds is useful, with so little funding, it’s a “moot point.”

Patnaude-Olander also noted concerns over the structure of funding under NAHASDA. Funding is tied to the homes in a housing authority’s portfolio, which in the case of the Turtle Mountain Housing Authority is “basically the housing stock built under the Housing Act of 1937.” When homes leave the portfolio for any reason—including when they are paid off by tribal families under previous home ownership programs or when it’s no longer feasible to continue to rehab an older unit—funding is affected and may decrease. This makes it even harder to maintain existing units, let alone develop new ones. Additionally, she noted that the law creates a “Catch 22”: many units are vacant because they are too expensive to repair, but vacant units may be subject to losing their federal funding, leaving even fewer resources to address tribal housing needs.

Still, Patnaude-Olander doesn’t have an entirely negative view of NAHASDA. As she explains, without NAHASDA, her community wouldn’t have the ability to maintain its current housing. Plus, the law’s built-in consultation mechanisms give tribes “a seat at the table” for new federal regulations. Still, the model is far from true self-determination. After all, NAHASDA’s housing programs, like all programs, “need the necessary funding allocated to effectively run them.”

 

Dave Castillo

Dave Castillo

Dave Castillo, CEO, Native Community Capital and HAC board member

Tempe, AZ

Dave Castillo began his career the year after NAHASDA was signed into law. As he explains it, his colleagues held the expectation that this law would open a new era in tribal housing. “NAHASDA created opportunity,” he explains, but it required tribes to seize it.

The opportunity created by NAHASDA hasn’t yet been fully actualized, in Castillo’s view. With a “severe lack of precedent” developing new properties, instead of just maintaining them, and without the necessary capacity building, many tribal housing authorities were unable to take full advantage of the opportunities before them.

Additionally, NAHASDA hasn’t completely succeeded at bringing more funding to tribal housing. Under the law’s “regressive” funding formula, housing authorities lose funding when homes leave their portfolio. Also, since there is an expectation that tribes will leverage their NAHASDA allocation with other grants or private investment—which has been difficult if not impossible to attract—many innovative tribal housing initiatives have stalled. To make matters worse, the legislation’s goal of stimulating mortgage lending on tribal trust lands has been undercut by a loophole which gives banks credit for loans made to tribal members living off-reservation.

While Castillo has seen little “recognition of [NAHASDA’s] shortcomings,” (reauthorization of the law has failed every year since 2013) the law still contains valuable opportunities. For example, it requires federal agencies to negotiate new housing rules with tribes, a process known as “negotiated rulemaking.” In the end, Castillo takes a nuanced view on NAHASDA’s legacy. It provides an incredible opportunity, yet “we are failing” to meet Indian Country’s housing needs, even with NAHASDA.

South and Midwest December 2021 Tornadoes

On Friday night, December 10th, 2021, tornadoes up to 80 mph swept across six states in the Midwest and South, leaving more than 70 dead. Several states are experiencing power outages. President Biden approved an emergency declaration for Kentucky, which was hit by four tornadoes, one of which stayed on the ground for more than 200 miles. Michael Dossett, director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, said the agency is already working to start cleaning up the debris and rebuild. For more information about preparing for and recovering from natural disasters, visit Rural Resilience.

Resources

Apply for FEMA Assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. FEMA Disaster Assistance Helpline answers questions about the help offered by FEMA, how to apply for assistance, or the information in your account.

Toll-free helpline: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)

For hearing impaired callers only:

1-800-462-7585 (TTY)

1-800-621-3362 (Video Relay Service)

Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET

American Red Cross Disaster Service: For referrals and updates on Red Cross shelter services in your area, locate a local Red Cross office through: https://www.redcross.org/find-help or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)

The Red Cross helps disaster victims by providing safe shelter, hot meals, essential relief supplies, emotional support and health services like first aid. Trained Red Cross workers often meet one-on-one with families to develop individual plans and identify available resources to help aid recovery.

STATE HOUSING AGENCIES

 

Arkansas

Arkansas Development Finance Authority
P.O. Box 8023
Little Rock, AR 72203-8023
Phone: (501) 682-5900
Fax: (501) 682-5939

http://www.arkansas.gov/adfa

Illinois

Illinois Housing Development Authority
111 E Wacker Drive, Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 836-5200
Fax: (312) 832-2170

http://www.ihda.org

Kentucky

Kentucky Housing Corporation
1231 Louisville Road
Frankfort, KY 40601-6156
Phone: (502) 564-7630
Fax: (502) 564-7322

http://www.kyhousing.org

Mississippi

Mississippi Home Corporation
735 Riverside Drive
Jackson, MS 39202-1166
Phone: (601) 718-4642
Fax: (601) 718-4643

http://www.mshomecorp.com

Missouri

Missouri Housing Development Commission
920 Main Street, Suite 1400
Kansas City, MO 64105-2017
Phone: (816) 759-6600
Fax: (816) 301-7000

http://www.mhdc.com

Tennessee

Tennessee Housing Development Agency
502 Deaderick Street, Third Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 815-2200
Fax: (615) 564-2700

https://www.thda.org

 

HUD STATE FIELD OFFICES

Arkansas

Little Rock Field Office
425 West Capitol Avenue
Suite 1000
Little Rock, AR 72201-3488

(501) 918-5700

Director: Wanda C. Merritt

Illinois

Chicago Regional Office
Ralph Metcalfe Federal Building
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604-3507

(312) 353-6236

Kentucky

Louisville Field Office
Gene Snyder Courthouse
601 West Broadway
Room 110
Louisville, KY 40202

(502) 582-5251

Director: Ahsaki Thurman

Mississippi

Dr. A. H. McCoy Federal Building
100 West Capitol Street
Room 910
Jackson, MS 39269-1096

(601) 965-4757

Director: Jerrie G. Magruder

Missouri

St. Louis Field Office
1222 Spruce Street
Suite 3.203
St. Louis, MO 63103-2836

(314) 418-5400

Director: James Heard

Tennessee

200 Jefferson Suite 300
Memphis, TN 38103

(901) 544-3367

Director: Sernorma Mitchell

USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT STATE OFFICES

Arkansas

Karen Petrus, Acting State Director
Federal Building
700 West Capitol Avenue, Room 3416
Little Rock, AR 72201-3225

Voice: (501) 301-3216

https://www.rd.usda.gov/ar

Illinois

Molly K. Hammond, Acting State Director
2118 West Park Court, Suite A
Champaign, IL 61821

(217) 403-6200

https://www.rd.usda.gov/il

Kentucky

Louisville Field Office
Gene Snyder Courthouse
601 West Broadway
Room 110
Louisville, KY 40202

(502) 582-5251

https://www.rd.usda.gov/ky

Mississippi

Douglas Simons, Acting State Director
Federal Building, Suite 831
100 West Capitol Street
Jackson, MS 39269

(601) 965-4316

www.rd.usda.gov/ms

Missouri

D Clark Thomas, Acting State Director
601 Business Loop 70 West
Parkade Center, Suite 235
Columbia, MO 65203

(573) 876-0976

www.rd.usda.gov/mo

Tennessee

Dan Beasley, Acting State Director
441 Donelson Pike, Suite 310
Nashville, TN  37214

(615) 783-1300

www.rd.usda.gov/tn

 

STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES

Arkansas

Building 9501
Camp Joseph T. Robinson
North Little Rock, AR 72199

(501) 683-6700

https://www.dps.arkansas.gov/emergency-management/adem/

Illinois

2200 South Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, Illinois 62703

IEMA Main Office (217) 782-2700

24-hour Response (217) 782-7860

TTY 888-614-2381​​

https://www2.illinois.gov/iema/Pages/default.aspx

Mississippi

P.O. Box 5644
Pearl, Mississippi

(601) 933-MEMA

24 hour emergency line: 1-800-222-MEMA(6362)

https://www.msema.org/

Missouri

St. Charles Co.
Capt. Chris Hunt
1400 T.R. Hughes Blvd., Suite 230
O’Fallon, MO 63366
(636) 949-3023

Pemiscot Co.
Jess Cagle
PO Box 1031
Caruthersville, MO 63830
(573) 333-4101

https://sema.dps.mo.gov/

Tennessee

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency
Patrick C. Sheehan, Director
3041 Sidco Dr.
Nashville, TN 37204

(615) 741-0001

https://www.tn.gov/tema.html

 

Rural Housing Awards 2021

HAC Celebrates Rural Housing at the 2021 National Rural Housing Conference

As part of the 2021 National Rural Housing Conference, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) recognized individuals and/or organizations that have, through their continued work and or newly established initiatives, made a positive and lasting impact to affordable housing in rural America.
The Covid pandemic was a paradigm shift that tested the strength, and temerity of communities across the country and one that centered housing, not just as a critical human need, but as a human right. Acknowledging the difficulty of the past year and the many associated inequities revealed, HAC seeks to honor those that leaned into the challenges to create positive impacts in rural America. In doing so, HAC has invited nominations for both individuals and/or organizations who have made outstanding and enduring contribution to affordable housing in rural America. Having faced a number of impediments from a common enemy, and all working towards the betterment of society, HAC seeks to recognize positive contributions from the smallest grassroots and on-the-ground housers and practitioners, to the highest elected offices in the US.
Out of long list of nominees, the Housing Assistance Council is proud to announce the following selectees for a 2021 Rural Housing Service Award:
This award is in recognition of your distinguished service in housing for the rural poor, steadfast commitment to rural communities, and outstanding contributions to those in greatest need in the most rural of places. Please join us in recognizing these esteemed friends of rural America!

Watch the Awards

Past Recipients of Rural Housing Awards

 

BJ Kinds (center), construction manager with Delta Design Build Workshop, frames a house in Eastmoor on Sept. 2, 2020.Rory Doyle/ There is More Work to be Done

Transformational Rural Resources & Reconciliation

We are living through a momentous time. Trillions of dollars are flowing into communities to help address the impacts of the pandemic and position our nation to lead into the future. But, like water, federal funding often flows to the path of least resistance and historically this inertia has left behind rural areas, persistently poor counties, and communities of color. As Congress enters discussions on infrastructure, a focus on targeting these transformational resources to address long-existing patterns of rural poverty has never been more important.

There has been no lack of news coverage over the last year about Americans fleeing the big city for a quieter, more socially distanced small-town life. High-amenity rural communities across the country are seeing explosive growth that has led some to announce the beginning of a rural renaissance for American millennials. But this trend does not hold true for under-resourced rural places, which have often suffered under the weight of persistent poverty for decades.

Fortunately, Congress has recognized this need and infrastructure reconciliation conversations have included critical resources for rural affordable housing and community development. Many of these resources align with HAC’s 2021 Rural Housing Policy Priorities. Here are some highlights on these resources:

  • USDA Rural Housing Service Resources

    • A transformational investment in rural multifamily housing, including $4.36 billion for new construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of Section 515 rental housing and Section 514/516 farmworker housing, as well as $200 million for Section 521 Rental Assistance. With thousands of USDA multifamily units maturing and leaving the program each year and no funding for new construction in a decade, this investment could right the ship and preserve an estimated 38,720 units.
    • Additional support for rural affordable homeownership, including $70 million in budget authority for Section 502 direct homeownership loans (estimated to support loans totaling about $3.7 billion); $95 million for Section 504 repair grants; and $25 million for Section 523 self-help.
  • Rural Partnership Program (RPP)

    • The Rural Partnership Program (RPP) is a newly proposed program that is funded at nearly $4 billion and would provide flexible grants to support rural and tribal community development and capacity building. The proposed program has two parts: grants to support direct activities and projects, and grants to support the organizations responsible for providing technical assistance and capacity to administer the grants.
  • Other critical resources for rural housing

    • $25 million in additional funding for the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) at HUD, which is a critical tool for rural affordable homeownership. HAC’s SHOP program has created nearly 10,000 homes in rural places across the country.
    • A $1 billion setaside of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for colonias on the U.S.-Mexico border. These generally unincorporated communities along the U.S.-Mexico border in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas are characterized by high poverty rates and substandard living conditions, often lacking potable drinking water, water and wastewater systems, paved streets, and access to standard mortgage financing. This investment in colonias will allow these communities to develop the basic infrastructure they desperately need.

The new Administration has made geographic equity for rural places a priority, and we are hopeful that Congress will recognize the unique needs of rural areas and maintain these resources as the negotiations move forward. Rural communities are worthy of investment—and now is the time to make that investment in the future of rural America. If you would like to learn more about HAC’s policy priorities, click here.