Natural Disaster Update

Published by Mark Shelburne on Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 12:00am

Between the extensive wildfires and nearly record-setting hurricanes, America is experiencing an unsettling degree of hell and high water. Keeping up with the news and regulatory responses to these natural disasters can be overwhelming. It is nevertheless important to stay informed for many reasons, including in case Congress enacts tax-based affordable housing and community development programs as a component of rebuilding, such as the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC).

FEMA Programs
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) main functions are separated into those for individuals and governments. The overall form of support for households is called Individual Assistance (IA). There are several components, including crisis counselling, unemployment, legal services, and the Individuals and Households Program (IHP). IHP consists of Housing Assistance (HA) and Other Needs Assistance (ONA). Together HA and ONA help cover the cost of temporary housing, repair/replacement, cleaning, and moving/storage.

FEMA also provides Public Assistance grants (PA) to states and localities for emergency and permanent work. The former consists of debris removal and protective measures, while the latter includes repairs to facilities for water treatment/deliver, power generation, and more.

Listed below are the most recent amounts available for these programs (as compiled by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). Not all of the funds have been disbursed.


Blog Graphic FEMA Grants Map 101117
Click to Enlarge

Public Housing
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Hurricane Harvey affected 1,100 public housing properties, while hurricanes Irma and Maria affected 1,400 (these figures may increase). HUD issued a Federal Register notice listing potential expedited waivers for housing authorities, including:

  • voucher exception payment standards of up to 150 percent of the fair market rent, as opposed to the regular exception payment standard of 110 percent;
  • allowing occupancy of more than two persons per room (with consent of the assisted household);
  • providing notice of voucher waitlist opening via website, voicemail, or office posting instead of in a newspaper;
  • extending to 90 days the time to request “secondary verification” of immigration status;
  • carrying out demolition and/or disposition.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credits
The Internal Revenue Service has provided several natural disaster allowances for agencies, owners and residents.

The circumstances in each state and territory are changing rapidly. The same is true for what is happening in Congress and the administration. Stay tuned to Novogradac & Company’s news updates, podcasts, blog entries and the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits for the latest.