Disaster Housing Recovery: Time for Congress to Act

Disaster Housing Recovery In New Jersey, Families Devastated by Sandy Still Seek Stable, Permanent Housing

On November 26, 2018, The Hill published an op-ed by National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) President and CEO Diane Yentel on disaster housing recovery.

Yentel wrote about the Trump administration’s failure to adequately respond to the disaster housing recovery crisis caused by the California wildfires and the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“The administration has failed to address survivors’ most basic need: a safe, stable, affordable home,” Diane states.

  • In her op-ed, Diane describes the severe shortage of affordable rental homes for the lowest income families prior to the recent disasters.
  • She goes on to describe the immense damage to homes caused by this and last year’s disasters that is exacerbating the crisis.
  • She cites the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s inexplicably slow provision of temporary housing, causing disaster survivors to sleep in tent cities, double or triple up with other low-income families, or stay in crowded motel rooms for months.
  • She notes FEMA’s stubborn refusal to activate proven longer-term housing solutions deployed after previous storms, despite repeated requests from governors, members of Congress, impacted people and advocates.

“The next Congress must do what the current Congress has not: hold the administration accountable and ensure that low-income disaster survivors are provided with stable, affordable homes so they can recover,” states Diane. “It’s the least we can do for fellow Americans who have lost so much.”

Over six years since Superstorm Sandy, families in New Jersey are still struggling to rebuild their homes. The storm devastated many homes and the lives of families living along New Jersey’s shore.

The Long Road Home report which was written by the New Jersey Research Project and released in October 2012 documents the post- Sandy lives of affected families who continue to struggle due to the failure of disaster housing recovery after the storm. These families have not been able to return to stable, permanent housing and still suffer the debilitating economic and health effects of the storm.

The Report makes recommendations that apply to the housing crisis created by the more recent disasters this year.

Recommendations include:

  • fully funding federal flood mapping;
  • refocusing federal efforts on mitigation; and
  • including sea-level rise projections in planning initiatives.

The report also highlights the key role strong state leadership must play both in advancing mitigation efforts and in effective disaster response. The report is intended to improve policy makers’ understanding of residents’ experiences, to focus reforms, and to ensure families’ voices are in the debate – in their words, “nothing about us without us.”

Diane Yentel’s Disaster Recovery Op-Ed

The Long Road Home

Follow us on Apple News

Subscribe to Our Newsletter for News You Can Use Every Day

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter Delivered on Friday