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disaster recovery

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A FEMA sign posted outside the hurricane Harvey disaster recovery center.

FEMA Offers Full Reimbursement for Pandemic Shelter Costs—But Cities Are Still Jittery

Cities and counties have been slow to take advantage of the promise of full and retroactive FEMA reimbursement to expand emergency housing programs, frustrating housing advocates. What’s getting in the way?

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Opinion

Flooded: How Natural Disasters Lead to Predatory Lending in the Rio Grande Valley

The devastation that communities in the Rio Grande Valley experience is twofold: the initial destruction of the floods and the cycle of debt and poverty as a result of predatory loans.

Opinion

Banks Can Earn CRA Credit for COVID Response—But Who’s Benefiting?

All banking activities, regardless of whether they benefit middle- and upper-income or low- and moderate-income people and communities, could count in the next round of CRA exams. This would further disadvantage communities that are already disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy
COVID

What Prior Disasters Have Taught Housing Advocates About How to Respond to COVID-19

When it comes to helping people maintain or recover their housing, hurricanes and fires aren’t as different from a pandemic as one might think.

A flooded street in Princeville, North Carolina.
Housing

Deciding Not to Rebuild After Climate-Related Disasters

Officials in large and small cities along the East Coast are realizing that maybe they shouldn’t rebuild on land that repeatedly floods. Instead they’re focusing on buyouts, building affordable housing on higher ground, and other mitigation efforts.

Flooding in North Charleston, South Carolina
Policy

The Uncertain Flood Zone

Communities need accurate maps and more access to data to increase flood resilience—but right now FEMA’s not providing that.

A car and truck submerged on a flooded road.
Community Development Field

Rules for Radicals to Demand a Fair and Transformative Disaster Recovery

At Texas Housers, we’ve confronted a series of natural disasters over the past decade that forced us to develop new approaches for our housing advocacy. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we find ourselves back at it. Here are seven lessons we have learned.

Smoke over California hills.
Community Development Field

Not If But When: A Disaster Preparedness Conversation

Against the back drop of 2017’s California wildfires, a quickly organized session took place to discuss disaster response and recovery from the perspective of being a housing organization.

Organizing

When Disaster Hits, Your First Responder Probably will Not Be a First Responder

Social scientists reviewed all the recent research on disaster recovery and tell us that before the coordinated help arrives, before the Red Cross and all the other recovery groups descend with legions of volunteers, there are neighbors.

People line up next to donation items after Hurricane Katrina.
Community Development Field

Civil Rights Organizations on Hurricane Relief Efforts

Throughout what we know will be a long recovery over the coming weeks, months, and years, Shelterforce hopes to share the stories of the people and organizations charged with serving […]

Health

How the Community Reinvestment Act Can Help Flint

The audacious and callous decisions leading to the tragedy in Flint, Michigan are cruel and beyond comprehension. What is needed is an all-out effort by all sectors of society–not only […]

Equity

Policy Victory Means Millions for Lower 9th Ward

For the first time, federal disaster funds will be provided to those who spent thousands of dollars on temporary housing after their homes were destroyed. For many homeowners across Louisiana, this will be enough to return and rebuild. Nearly 700 families in the Lower 9th Ward may qualify.

Equity

Doubling Down on Community Resilience

Last month here in Rooflines, I argued that place-based community development can make low-income neighborhoods more resilient to climate crises. A commenter countered that my article undermined “income mobility” strategies—which […]