Disaster Housing Recovery Updates – October 25, 2021

Are you a housing provider in or near a disaster-impacted area? If you have vacant units, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) wants to know! The agency is operating a pilot program to collect information on alternative housing for those displaced from their homes by disasters. Let HUD know via their survey form here. Filling out this form is completely non-binding, and information will be shared directly with HUD offices and FEMA.

Federal Response

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

USA Today reports on a new Climate Adaptation Plan unveiled by HUD to tackle the effects of climate change on housing. HUD will take an agency-wide approach to prioritize climate resilience by factoring in climate risk when underwriting loans, updating CDBG-DR and CDBG-MIT grant requirements to promote resilience and environmental justice, and incentivizing the production of energy-efficient housing. Read HUD’s Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan here.


After spending the last month in a FEMA trailer park for wildfire survivors in California, Hannah Dreier of the Washington Post reports on the many challenges faced by residents – especially people with disabilities – as they work to obtain housing before FEMA cuts off assistance. This reporting provides yet another example of our broken federal disaster housing recovery system, highlighting how FEMA’s failures consistently push families into homelessness. Rather than find new solutions to support disaster survivors, like those recommended by the DHRC, FEMA has doubled down on using trailer parks and other failed policies that continue to actively harm people with the greatest needs.

Hurricane Ida

Six weeks after Hurricane Ida, thousands of Lafourche Parish residents – some of whom are sleeping in makeshift structures and tents – have still not received direct emergency housing from FEMA. As of a week ago, 5,000 Terrebonne households and 2,100 Lafourche households had requested temporary housing. Renters often cannot return to their homes because landlords often evict residents to renovate apartments after storms. Residents displaced by Ida face multiple barriers preventing them from obtaining new housing.

The state’s temporary sheltering program has set up five base camps comprised of tents across Terrebonne that can shelter up to 500 people. Learn more about the Terrebonne Parish Base Camps, including the base camp rules.

Louisiana House Speaker Pro Tempore Tanner Magee criticized the state’s handling of the temporary housing program, saying the effort is moving too slowly. While Louisiana has bought 1,100 trailers as part of the state’s temporary housing program, just 13 trailers are inhabited. Magee has been pushing to keep residents in devastated areas, saying “once residents move, they are not coming back, and we already have a problem in this state about migration to begin with.” The state-run Hurricane Ida Sheltering Program is meant to provide immediate sheltering assistance until FEMA’s Direct Housing program is fully underway. Local parishes announced they would be providing the travel trailers to police officers first, then other first responders, and then the general public.

FEMA is choosing to proceed with its Direct Housing Program, which will take months to complete, instead of working with HUD to activate the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP), which provides low-income, displaced families with safe, decent, and affordable rental homes while they rebuild their lives and get back on their feet

Across Dulac, Louisiana, the damage from Hurricane Ida is profound for the community’s 1,100 residents, with some survivors still homeless. Residents have struggled to make FEMA claims due to spotty cell service and internet coverage.

Dozens of residents at an apartment complex in West Orange, New Jersey are now suddenly homeless after being forced to leave their homes due to building damage caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida. Residents were given no warning and little explanation. The mayor and several town officials held a meeting to discuss next steps with the displaced residents, but the landlord did not attend. The 45 displaced families – many of whom are retired and living on limited incomes – are being temporarily housed at two hotels, but only for a few more days. FEMA will be helping residents who qualify for assistance.


NBC News discusses California’s “existential” dilemma in tackling climate change and the state’s affordable housing crisis. California’s housing shortage is compounded by climate change, which has contributed to severe drought, historic wildfires, and unprecedented heat waves. The article highlights the SoCal Greenprint, an interactive mapping platform that some say could bridge the gap between development and conservation. Others fear the SoCal Greenprint could stymie efforts to build more housing and transportation.

Career Opportunities

Texas Appleseed is hiring a staff attorney and/or policy associate for its Disaster Recovery and Fair Housing Project. The position offers an opportunity to work at the intersection of disaster recovery, racial justice, climate justice, and environmental justice while contributing to Texas Appleseed’s ongoing work on segregation and historical disinvestment.