We have posted our comments to the State of Texas regrading the State’s proposed hurricane rebuilding plan.
We offer fifteen recommendations to the State of Texas for allocating funds and designing and implementing programs to utilize the $1.3 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to assist in the housing rebuilding efforts for Hurricanes Dolly and Ike.
Reference is made from each of the recommendations to endnotes containing an expanded explanation of our recommendations.
1) Establish a Texas Disaster Recovery Authority to oversee allocation, program design and implementation of disaster recovery.
2) Make housing rebuilding the top priority in the allocation of disaster rebuilding funds.
3) Provide uniform state program and benefit levels in post-disaster housing rebuilding programs.
4) Insist that FEMA release data to the State regarding individual housing damage so that the State can have the best data to make funding allocations.
5) Establish a simple structure of five housing assistance programs to rebuild homes.
– Emergency weatherproofing program.
– Comprehensive rehabilitation or reconstruction.
– Faith-based/nonprofit housing rehabilitation program.
– Public housing rehabilitation and reconstruction program.
– Affordable rental housing partnership program.
6) Build on existing investments in housing programs to ensure funds are available as quickly and efficiently as possible.
7) Put in place effective consumer protections for homeowners dealing with contractors to rebuild their homes.
8) Design protections into loans, deeds and covenants associated with state funded housing programs to protect low-income consumers from losing their homes.
9) Establish a program to provide emergency repairs in order to minimize additional costs occasioned by further weather damage.
10) Maximize the contributions of faith-based groups to rebuild and repair houses.
11) Provide for access to affordable homeowner’s insurance for low-income homeowners.
12) Design housing programs in a manner that breaks down housing segregation and concentrations of poverty.
13) Design new houses and rehabilitation work to produce homes that are truly affordable to maintain and are highly energy efficient.
14) Adequately fund the repair and reconstruction of affordable rental housing.
15) Develop models to combine temporary housing and permanent housing and ensure that assisted homes will survive future hurricanes and flooding. Use Hurricane Ike disaster programs to develop and test models for better housing solutions for the next disaster