Tag Archive for: disaster relief

Disaster Updates and Resources from HUD and FEMA

New CDBG-DR Notice Published

HUD has published the Allocations for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) and Implementation of the CDBG-DR Consolidated Waivers and Alternative Requirements Notice.

In November 2023, HUD allocated $142 million in CDBG-DR funds appropriated by the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023 for major disasters occurring in 2022 and 2023.

This Allocation Announcement Notice (AAN) identifies grant requirements for these funds, including requirements in HUD’s CDBG-DR Consolidated Notice (“Consolidated Notice”) found in Appendix B, and a limited number of amendments to the Consolidated Notice that apply to CDBG-DR grants for disasters occurring in 2022 and 2023.

The Consolidated Notice, as amended by this AAN, includes:

  • Waivers and alternative requirements
  • Relevant regulatory requirements
  • Grant award process
  • Criteria for action plan approval
  • Eligible disaster recovery activities

Please note that grantees who have been allocated funds for disasters occurring in 2022 and 2023 must follow the Duplication of Benefits (DOB) requirements located in section IV.A. of this notice and IV.A. of the Consolidated Notice.

Please read the entire notice for more information.

Please visit HUD’s Website for CDBG-DR, and CDBG Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) resources, tools, and training. Also search the Disaster Recovery Tools and Templates Library for additional information.

New Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Declarations

Please review the disaster declaration for the availability of individual assistance.

FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP)

FEMA National Preparedness Report Released: FEMA released the 2023 National Preparedness Report, highlighting the state of the nation’s preparedness at all levels of government while examining the risks the nation faces and the capabilities available to address them.

More Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Training Materials

Please visit HUD’s website for emergency and disaster preparedness group education materials. These are available to HUD certified housing counselors to customize as part of their group education for HUD clients.

Report Released on Natural Hazards and Federally Assisted Housing

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation (PAHRC) released today a joint report, Natural Hazards and Federally Assisted Housing, that analyzes the risks that natural hazards pose to federally assisted housing and its residents. Federally assisted housing and its residents must be protected against climate change and the growing threat of natural hazards through better planning and stronger investments in resilience.

Resilience and Recovery: Insights from the July 2022 Eastern Kentucky Flood

A new report from the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank focuses on the 13 counties declared federal disaster areas and examines the flood’s impact on the region’s housing.

Key findings

  • Cost of flood insurance can be prohibitive. The average cost of homeowners insurance and a flood insurance policy could account for around 7 percent of the median household income in the counties impacted by the 2022 eastern Kentucky flood. These policies can be expensive, particularly for low-income households, leading them to go without. Evidence of these difficult decisions can be found in the fact that only 5 percent of damaged homes had flood insurance, and households earning $30,000 or less per year accounted for 60 percent of damaged homes.
  • Floods exacerbate affordable housing shortages. Nearly 9,000 housing units were affected by the flood, with 74 percent of the damage occurring in just four counties (Breathitt, Knott, Letcher, and Perry), comprising 22 percent of their occupied housing units. Research finds that low-income households and renters are more likely to suffer permanent displacement because they often have fewer relocation options and lower-quality housing is more likely to be demolished instead of being rebuilt. These points are particularly relevant in these 13 flood-impacted counties where, in 2021, 37 percent of households, including 55 percent of renters, made less than $25,000 per year.
  • Floods increase population out-migration, which, in turn, impacts the local labor force. In the four hardest hit counties (Breathitt, Knott, Letcher, and Perry), an analysis of United States Postal Service (USPS) Vacancy Data shows that residential vacancies increased by 19 percent from the third to the fourth quarter in 2022. This is in addition to an average population decline of 600 people per year going back to 1984. Fewer residents mean fewer people available to fill jobs.
  • The pre-existing weakness of local labor markets will likely impact housing recovery, particularly due to a lack of available workforce in skilled trades. Prior to the July 2022 flood, the region experienced unemployment rates consistently higher than the national rate. In the region, the construction sector, key to the housing recovery, has declined by 24 percent (1,759 jobs) from its 2001 peak to 2022. Only coal mining and financial activities employment saw greater declines. This shortage of skilled trades workers, such as carpenters, electricians, and plumbers, has led to a backlog of people waiting to get their homes repaired or replaced.

For more information and to read the report, visit Resilience and Recovery: Insights from the July 2022 Eastern Kentucky Flood.

HUD Rolls Out 29 Waivers to Accelerate Hurricane Idalia Recovery Efforts in Florida

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  announced today a package of 29 regulatory and administrative waivers aimed at helping communities in Florida accelerate their recovery from Hurricane Idalia.

The regulatory and administrative relief announced covers the following HUD programs: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Housing Trust Fund (HTF), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), Continuum of Care (CoC), and Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP).

To expedite the use of these funds, HUD’s state and local partners can now access a waiver through a new simplified notification process. Through this waiver package, HUD is providing flexibility by:

  • Allowing new housing construction with CDBG funding in declared disaster areas.
  • Suspending the CDBG public services cap to provide additional support services related to the effects of the disaster on individuals and families.
  • Waiving the HOME matching contribution requirements and CHDO set aside to expeditiously provide housing to displaced persons and repair properties damaged by the disaster.
  • Providing flexibility in HOME tenant-based rental assistance requirements to reduce the burden for those seeking assistance.
  • Extending term limits for certain types of assistance, including CDBG emergency grant payments and ESG rental assistance.

This waiver follows HUD flexibilities announced on September 6 following the natural disaster declaration. Below are examples of what CPD funding can be used for in the wake of a disaster:

  • housing rehabilitation
  • housing reconstruction,
  • homebuyer programs replacing disaster damaged residences,
  • acquisition and relocation programs to help people move out of floodplains,
  • infrastructure improvements,
  • demolition of buildings,
  • reconstruction or replacement of public facilities,
  • small business grants and loans,
  • and assistance to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness after a disaster.

 

Corrected Notice: Section 504 Home Repair Loans and Grants in Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas Pilot Program

The notice regarding the Single Family Housing Section 504 Home Repair Loans and Grants in Presidentially Declared Disaster Areas Pilot Program, which was published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, July 18, 2023, and shared via a GovDelivery message on the same day, has been corrected. The corrected notice was published in the Federal Register today (September 6, 2023) and expands the pilot to any presidentially declared disaster areas that occurred on or after July 18, 2022 (i.e., is not limited to the pilot states outlined in the original notice), until the conclusion of the pilot on July 18, 2025.

 

Hurricane Idalia Disaster Guide

Hurricane Idalia hit Florida’s Big Bend coast as a Category 3 storm on Wednesday, August 31, 2023, downgraded to a tropical storm when reaching the Carolinas, and went out to the Atlantic Ocean. Currently, over 210,000 households and businesses are without power. Many areas are experiencing flooding, downed trees, and major destruction to homes and buildings. At this time, only one death is confirmed as caused by a fallen tree.

HAC offers the following resources with information for nonprofits and communities dealing with loss and damage from Hurricane Idalia: 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.
  • 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, foundation 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 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

 

North Carolina

North Carolina Emergency Management

Phone: 919-825-2500

https://www.ncdps.gov/our-organization/emergency-management

 

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

 

North Carolina

North Carolina Housing Finance Agency

3508 Bush Street

Raleigh, NC 27609-7509

Phone: (919) 877-5700

https://www.nchfa.com/

 

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, Regional Administrator

Phone: (678) 732-2200

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

 

North Carolina

Greensboro Field Office

Asheville Building

1500 Pinecroft Road, Suite 401

Greensboro, NC 27407

Phone: (336) 547-4000

Director- Lorenzo Claxton

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

 

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

 

North Carolina

4405 Bland Road, Suite 260

Raleigh, NC 27609

Phone: (919) 873-2000

Director: Reginal Speight

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

 

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

 

August 2023 Maui Fire Rural Response Guide

Dry grasses and strong winds contributed to one of the country’s deadliest wildfires breaking out in Lāhainā, Hawaii on August 8th. Almost 2000 people are without electricity and over 10,000 are without phone and internet. The administration issued a major disaster declaration on August 10th to release more than $8.5 million in aid to the affected families. As of August 22nd, 115 people have been confirmed dead and over 800 are missing. Response teams are on the ground and the disaster area is still being searched.

RESOURCES

HAC offers the following resources with information for organizations and communities dealing with loss and damage resulting from wildfires: Rural Resilience in the Face of Disaster site and Disaster Response for Rural Communities Guide.

County of Maui, Hawaii Wildfire Resources

Disaster Assistance Improvement Program (DAIP)

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621- 3362 or 1-800- 462-7585 TTY. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

If federal assistance becomes available for residents affected by the fires, to apply you must complete a multi-purpose application online at https://www.disasterassistance.gov.

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)

For information and resources specific to Hawaii, visit https://www.fema.gov/locations/hawaii.

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.

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.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency

200 S High St

Kalana O Maui Bldg, 1st Fl

Wailuku, HI 96793

Phone: (808) 270-7285

Fax: (808) 270-7275

https://dod.hawaii.gov/hiema/

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

HUD offers a Disaster Recovery Toolkit and makes other related resources available: https://www.hud.gov/info/disasterresources.

HUD State Office

Honolulu Field Office

1003 Bishop Street

Suite 2100

Honolulu, HI 96813-6463

(808) 457-4662

Fax: (808) 457-4694

Field Office Director: Ryan T. Okahara

USDA-Rural Development

To determine whether USDA has specific assistance available for fire survivors who had USDA Rural Development assistance before the fires, check for information online at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/services/rural-development-disaster-assistance.

Hawaii and Western Pacific USDA RD State Office

Phone: (808) 933-8380

  • State Director’s Office: (808) 291-2058
  • Business Programs: (808) 933-8323
  • Community Programs: (808) 933-8308
  • Housing Programs: (808) 933-8300

State Housing Agency

Each state has at least one agency that administers state and federal programs to promote decent affordable housing for low-income individuals. Typically, these agencies and authorities administer some aspects of state or federal programs.

Maui County Housing Division

Section 8 Rental Assistance Program

Phone: 808-270-7751

Fax: 808-270-7829

https://www.mauicounty.gov/251/Housing-Division

TIPS

Evacuating and Returning Home

The Red Cross website provides suggestions on actions to prepare for evacuation and returning home after a fire.

IF A FIRE OCCURS Listen to your local media for updates on the fire and be ready to leave quickly. Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing your direction of escape. You should also:

  • Keep your pets in one room so you can find them quickly if you have to evacuate.
  • Arrange for a temporary place to stay outside the threatened area.
  • Keep your indoor air clean – close windows and doors to prevent the smoke outside from getting in your home.
  • Use the recycle mode on the air conditioner in your home or car. If you don’t have air conditioning and it’s too hot to be inside, seek shelter somewhere else.
  • If smoke levels are high, don’t use anything that burns and adds to air pollution inside such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.

AFTER THE FIRE Don’t go home until fire officials say it is safe. Be cautious entering a burned area – hazards could still exist. Avoid damaged or downed power lines, poles and wires. Other things to do include:

  • Keep your animals under your direct control. Hidden embers and hot spots could burn them.
  • Wet down debris to minimize breathing dust particles.
  • Wear leather gloves and shoes with heavy soles.
  • Throw out any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
  • Recheck for smoke or sparks throughout your home for several hours after the fire, including in your attic. Wildfire winds can blow burning embers anywhere so check for embers that could cause a fire.

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.

July 2023 Vermont Flash Flood Disaster Guide

Flash floods in Vermont triggered by torrential rainfall hit the state causing President Joe Biden to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has begun its efforts to coordinate disaster relief efforts in Vermont as communities across the state are experiencing historic flooding. Vermont Governor Phil Scott stated that the flooding is wreaking havoc as more rain is expected later this week. HAC offers the following resources with information for organizations and communities dealing with loss and damage resulting from the flash floods in the Northeast: 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. Additional resources are available as flooding continues:

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.

For more information on federal aid programs visit FEMA’s website. Aid may include rental payments, home repair, unemployment payments, loans, and other assistance.

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 OFFICES

Vermont
Burlington Field Office
95 Saint Paul Street,
Suite 440
Burlington, VT 05401-4486

Phone: (802) 951-6290

State Director: Sean Thomas

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

USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT FIELD OFFICE

Vermont Rural Development State Office

87 State St., Ste. 324, PO Box 249, Montpelier, VT  05601
Phone: (802) 828-6080

Director: Sarah Waring
https://www.rd.usda.gov/vt

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCIES

Headquarters

Eric Forand
Interim Director
45 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-1300
Phone: (800) 347-0488

https://vem.vermont.gov/

Taiga Christie
Regional Coordinator – South
Phone: (800) 347-0488
Email: Taiga.Christie@vermont.gov

Harry Schoppman
Regional Coordinator – Northwest
Phone: (800) 347-0488
Email: harry.schoppmann@vermont.gov

Damages from flooding in the Midwest

USDA makes home repair grants available for disaster impact in rural Kentucky

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development announced the availability of grants to help people repair their homes that were damaged by historic flooding and other destructive weather in 2022.

The homes must be located in Presidentially declared disaster areas. People living in 26 Kentucky counties are eligible for the funding.

The grants are being made available through supplemental disaster funding under the Rural Disaster Home Repair Grant Program. Through this program, people may apply to receive grants of up to $40,675 directly from USDA to repair their homes.

For more information on how to apply, contact Rural Development Kentucky’s Single-Family Housing team at 859-224-7322 or visit https://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-page/kentucky-contacts.

Notice of Funding Opportunity: Wildfire Smoke Preparedness in Community Buildings Grant Program

EPA is seeking applications from eligible entities for a new federal grant program to support enhancing wildfire smoke preparedness in community buildings. The Wildfire Smoke Preparedness in Community Buildings grant program will provide grants and cooperative agreements to states, federally recognized tribes, public preschools, local educational agencies, and non-profit organizations for the assessment, prevention, control or abatement of wildfire smoke hazards in community buildings and related activities.

The deadline to apply is May 9, 2023.

EPA will host an information session for potential applicants. During the webinar, EPA will provide an overview of the funding opportunity and the application process.

When: April 10, 3 – 4 p.m. ET

Learn more about the Wildfire Smoke Preparedness in Community Buildings grant program.