Bring HUD's disaster-relief housing program to Florida – Orlando Sentinel
It should surprise no one that those with the smallest incomes endure the greatest suffering in a natural disaster. Nonprofit and faith-based organizations and communities are instrumental in supporting those with the greatest needs. After Hurricane Irma, our organizations — United Way of Florida and the United Methodist Church-Florida Conference — stepped in to provide resources and shelter to those who were struggling before the storms. We recognized that tens of thousands of vulnerable Floridians needed immediate assistance or the state would continue to suffer tremendous loss.
On Dec. 1, 32 members of the Florida and Texas congressional delegations — half from each state — sent a letter to the Trump administration expressing their dissatisfaction with the amount of federal funding provided to aid disaster recovery. In times of disaster, people are looking for a robust response from their elected officials to help them recover and rebuild their lives. When help from the federal government does not arrive in a timely way, the problems faced by survivors are exacerbated. Left to fill the void, charities and nonprofits try to meet the increased demand for their services, depleting them of the resources they rely on to be able to serve their communities throughout the year. This is where we find ourselves now in Florida and in Puerto Rico to the south.
In the months since the hurricanes, more than 20,000 people are still living in Florida hotels through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Transitional Shelter Assistance program — a program that is difficult to use because of inadequate hotel participation and resort fees that consume more of the already limited financial resources of low-income families, often struggling to maintain employment in the wake of the storm.
Even before Hurricane Irma, Florida had a shortage of affordable rental homes for those