We want disaster recovery to be fair and just. Here’s a good place to start.

Over the past 10 years, Texas Housers and our legal and organizing partners have advocated equitable recovery through four major hurricanes. (See here, for example.)

The process for survivors to seek relief is sometimes long and winding. Federal government dollars flow down to the state and localities in a complex bureaucratic process. For people to have a say in how that funding is disbursed in a community, they first have to know what this process is and what is at stake.

If disaster recovery is done well, communities have a chance to build more resiliently and see more government investment in their neighborhoods than they’ve ever seen. This is why voices of impacted people, advocates and organizers are crucial in directing funding to places that need it most. This is key for equitable recovery.

Texas Housers and many state, and local experts and community members have developed seven principles for disaster recovery.

1. Securing help from government of all levels is accessible, understandable and timely.

2. Everyone in need receives safe, temporary, accessible housing where they can reconnect with family and community.

3. Displaced people have access to all the resources they need to recover housing, personal property and transportation; disaster rebuilding jobs and contracts are locally sourced and provide fair wages.

4. Everyone is fairly assisted to fully and promptly recover through transparent and accountable programs and compliance with civil rights laws, with survivors having a say in the way assistance is provided.

5. All homeowners are able to quickly repair or rebuild in safe, quality neighborhoods of their choice that fit the needs of their families.

6. Renters quickly get quality, affordable, accessible rental property in safe, quality neighborhoods of their choice that fits the needs of their families.

7. All neighborhoods are free from environmental hazards have equal quality public infrastructure and are safe and resilient.

You can sign on to support these seven principles and be among allies who stand together call on all who work in disaster recovery to adopt them.

Texas Housers and several national, state, and local experts also developed specific policy recommendations shaped by these principles. We’re sending these recommendations to public officials and requesting  they adopt these specific ideas for initiatives that will bring much-needed relief to impacted people quickly and fairly. Many of these recommendations will also leave communities more resilient better prepared for the next time disaster strikes.

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