The House Committee on Homeland Security will hold a hearing on FEMA Housing: An Examination of Current Problems and Innovative Solutions tomorrow, Wednesday July 8, at 10 am EST in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the hearing is to receive testimony on FEMA’s strategy and plans to provide displaced individuals interim housing options in the wake of future catastrophes. Footage will be available on the House website, where an icon for live/recorded video of the hearing is located at the bottom of this page.
With regard to housing recovery in the Gulf Coast generally, a coalition partner at the National Low-Income Housing Coalition compiled this list of recent news articles:
· FEMA estimates that 1,800 individuals or families in Montgomery County, Texas, with unmet needs after Hurricane Ike just began to provide the needed resources.
· The City of Galveston expects to get the money for its housing recovery plan by August. Unfortunately there are lingering concerns that many people who could have received the assistance already rebuilt their homes, through a variety of resources, and will now not qualify for the funds.
· A Biloxi news piece talks about the progress of two rebuilding programs, “My Home My Coast’ at Gulf Coast Renaissance Corp and ‘Coming Home Collaborative’ with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The two programs combined have already received more than 5,000 applications.
· George County supervisors approved “a comprehensive plan … to guide development for the next two decades” last week. The process to develop the plan began after Katrina when officials learning they could not stop FEMA trailer parks from being located in areas that they or neighbors did not want them.
· The Louisiana Weekly reports that HANO extended the deadline for people on the pre-Katrina public housing waiting list to respond to requests as to whether they would like to stay on the list. The deadline for such notification had been last Friday, June 26, but has been extended to this Friday, July 3.
· More construction begins on homes to be built on former C.J. Peete site in New Orleans.
· This Times-Picayune piece talks about the progress on the long-delayed Louisiana Katrina cottages.
· Footage of Bill Johnson, ADECA, testifying before the House Financial Services Committee concerning the Economic Disaster Area Act of 2009, which proposes a new set-aside of CDBG funds for states declared economic disaster areas by the President. Around the 59 minute mark, Rep. Waters responds to Johnson’s ask for more disaster CDBG funds agreeably and, though she doesn’t offer anything concrete, suggests that the committee revisit the unmet Gulf Coast housing needs and what has happened with previous funding.
· USA Today reports on the thousands of families still living in FEMA-provided temporary housing post-Katrina/Rita.
· Recently the UN special rapporteur on racism spoke before the UN Humans Rights Council about recommendations for how the US can tackle ongoing racial discrimination. Discriminatory treatment of people affected by Katrina, especially with regard to permanent housing situations, was included in that testimony. See the UN recommendations.
· An MIT team transformed a FEMA travel trailer into a mobile community garden. The “Armadillo” is now on a cross country trip.
· NAACP urges Congress to pass the Gulf Coast Civic Works Act.
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