Communities in Florida, Texas, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are working to recover and rebuild after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Congress has taken initial steps to help, but much more is needed during a legislative calendar crowded with health insurance, tax changes and more.
Homeowners, renters and business owners are working to manage the disruption, but a large number have been displaced. A new analysis from Enterprise Community Partners estimates that up to 105,000 apartments in almost 500 medium and large multifamily properties in Harris County, Texas, alone could have been affected by flooding. If a large share of the rental housing stock is uninhabitable and demand from other renters and temporarily displaced homeowners increases, low- and moderate-income renters may face even more significant affordability problems. The hurricanes affected many HUD-assisted units as these maps from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma show. Many of NHC’s members and partners are engaged in supporting recovery efforts on the ground and ensuring strong federal policy responses. Many groups support those efforts and are also advocating for renewing and reforming flood insurance to better protect against and recover from future floods.
In HUD news, Sec. Ben Carson discussed his plan for institutional reform and improvement at HUD in a recent op-ed. Sec. Carson proposed internal and process-based reforms, enhancing the working conditions at HUD and eliminating improper payments. These efforts could also mean combining grant programs deemed redundant and removing regulations deemed burdensome. Sec. Carson stated his desire to renew HUD’s commitment to homeownership for first-time homebuyers and "take a hard look" at rental assistance that includes incentives for work and stable family formation. Lastly, he wants to gear housing assistance towards homeownership and job training to help more families become self-sufficient.