What to do when a storm hits your community

Storms hit our member communities ever year. Other members will be available to offer assistance to those hit hardest. Here are some disaster preparedness and recovery suggestions.

Update July 15, 2019: Tropical Storm #Barry will continue to have impacts on Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri.

Important numbers and websites

  • For sheltering information, the public should call 211 or text keyword LASHELTER to 898211 for the most current sheltering information.
  • For road closures, the public should visit 511la.org or call 511.
  • For life-threatening emergencies, the public should call 911.
  • For comprehensive emergency preparedness and response information, visit emergency.la.gov.


General:

In times of emergency, the law requires all entities that receive federal funding to provide equal services to all people and all communities. It applies at all times and cannot be waived before, during or in the aftermath of emergencies and disasters.

Title VI requires recipients to ensure that persons with Limited English Proficiency have meaningful access to programs or activities, benefits, services and vital information.

To avoid violations of federal law, recipients must ensure that their actions do not exclude individuals because of their race, color or national origin, including limited English proficiency.

Emergency messaging should be short and simple, culturally appropriate, in languages prevalent in your area and in multiple formats, such as audio, large print, captioning.

Review public-facing materials to determine what documents may be vital during a disaster or emergency.

Translate those materials into the top two commonly spoken languages in your community here.

Housing counseling agencies impacted during a time of disaster should notify HUD if the agency is temporarily unable to provide services during that time.


Guidance for community residents during and after times of disaster

If emergency response is discriminating in your community:

If you believe discrimination is occurring in your community with regard to emergency preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery programs or activities contact us at centerforcivilrights@ncrc.org for further assistance.

Are you a caregiver or neighbor to an older adult in the projected path of Hurricane Barry?

Older adults may need help with structural home preparedness tasks, such as trimming trees and bringing indoors any items that could become projectiles in hurricane force winds (including outdoor furniture, garbage cans and loose fencing). Older adults with oxygen needs or other home health care needs should secure backup power generators or voluntary evacuation to shelters for high needs populations.

Reach out to local officials and decision-makers to create a Hurricane Shutter Program offering assistance to low- to moderate-income older adult homeowners located in coastal communities.

Organizations prior to hurricanes could provide older adults in coastal communities with community resources for hurricane shutter programs such as FEMA.

Postnatural disaster is, unfortunately, a good time for scammers to target seniors. Be alert for unscrupulous repair persons or companies, FEMA imposters or charity scams.  Be aware of scams designed to take advantage of individuals and families seeking help.

Download the FEMA App here!

Mortgage Assistance from HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA)

For a Presidentially declared disaster, FHA activates a mortgagee letter making a variety of insured loan programs available for disaster victims and putting into play use of special loan servicing and underwriting requirements. Find out more.

 

Assistance from Ginnie Mae

Ginnie Mae encourages all single-family, manufactured housing and multifamily Ginnie Mae issuers offering forbearance to provide forbearance to mortgagors in areas receiving a Presidential disaster declaration. In certain instances, Ginnie Mae will assist issuers in their efforts to offer forbearance to mortgagors with pass-through payments. Visit Ginnie Mae’s website


Presidential Declaration of Disaster

If and when individual/public assistance money is approved for a disaster, it will be displayed here: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/3416. Information is updated every 24 hours.

If your storm was declared a disaster, consider:

Was your home or your ability to make your mortgage payments harmed by an event that the president declared a disaster? You may qualify for relief to help you keep your home. Much of the mortgage industry and The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development are committed to assisting borrowers whose lives and livelihoods are thrown into turmoil by a disaster.

If you can’t pay your mortgage because of the disaster, your lender may be able to help you. If you are at risk of losing your home because of the disaster, your lender may stop or delay initiation of foreclosure for 90 days. Lenders may also waive late fees for borrowers who may become delinquent on their loans as a result of a disaster.

If you have a conventional mortgage, you are strongly encouraged to contact your lender for further information and to see if you are eligible for relief.

If you have an FHA-insured mortgage, please continue reading to find out what options may be available to you.

 


For housing counseling agencies:

  1. Identify a safe place to take shelter.
  2. Keep in mind, your staff may be your first clients post-disaster.
  3. Prepare an emergency phone tree! – who’s responsible for calling who? How will your partners know your organization is in duress? Designate a primary person to contact staff members. Designate a secondary staff person should the primary be unable to fulfill this commitment. Collect all forms of contact: Phone, email, apps, etc.
  4. If your organization loses the ability to provide housing counseling services, email hcn@ncrc.org and contact your Regional Coordinator. HCN will connect you to local housing counseling agencies who may be able to assist with common needs.

Needs may include but are not limited to:

  • Storing client files
  • Referring open client cases (Don’t forget to seek consent from the client)
  • Referring new client cases

5. Notify your Parent Agency if your business does not have the capacity to perform normal housing counseling services.

  • Your Parent Agency will ensure the HUD website is updated to reflect this information.
  • Your Parent Agency may be able to assist with temporary adjustments to your work plan.

Helpful links:


For funders:

Are you seeking to connect local housing counseling agencies and homeowners with funding assistance? Contact the Housing Counseling Network via email at hcn@ncrc.org

 

Photo: Sadiq Nafee via Unsplash

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