The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Renee Willis,, (202) 662-1530 x247

Hundreds of Organizations Call for Immediate Relief for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and for Complete, Equitable Housing Recovery in All Hurricane Impacted Communities


Hundreds of local and national organizations signed onto four National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC)-led Hurricane Housing Recovery Coalition letters urging the White House and Congress to provide immediate relief to the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and to ensure that federal housing recovery and rebuilding efforts are complete and equitable for all individuals and communities impacted by the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

NLIHC and more than 540 national, state, and local organizations sent a letter to President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calling for urgent action to address the "growing humanitarian crisis" in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. "At a time when the health and well-being of millions of Americans are at risk, Congress and the Administration must take swift action," the letter states.

More than 500 organizations also signed letters to members of Congress and to senior leadership at FEMA and HUD calling on them to ensure that the federal response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria is complete and equitable for everyone, especially families and individuals with the lowest incomes who are often the hardest hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover afterwards. After past disasters, low income people and neighborhoods often have not been included sufficiently in the housing recovery process. As a result, many of the most vulnerable people - including low income seniors, people with disabilities, and families with children - and neighborhoods were not able to recover fully, making them even more vulnerable to future disasters.

The signers recognize that complete recovery after such devastating hurricanes will take years but urge the agencies and Congress to take important steps now to jumpstart the recovery process and to ensure that low income residents receive the assistance they desperately need. The recommendations include:

  • Providing sufficient housing recovery funds and cost-effective measures to ensure that all households - including homeowners, renters, and those who were experiencing homelessness before the disaster - receive the affordable and accessible housing assistance they need for as long as they need;
  • Ensuring that FEMA quickly enter into a Mission Agreement with HUD so that HUD can stand up a Disaster Housing Assistance Program to administer a disaster voucher program (DVP); and
  • Implementing active oversight and reporting to ensure that federal resources are allocated fairly and adequately to meet the needs of low income people and communities.

"It is time for Congress to show bipartisan leadership to make certain that federal disaster recovery resources reach all impacted households, including those with the lowest incomes who are often the hardest hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover afterwards," wrote NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel in a recent article about the hurricane housing recovery efforts. "Millions of Americans in desperate need are waiting."

Read each of the letters at:

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to ending America's affordable housing crisis. Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing within healthy neighborhoods for everyone. NLIHC provides up-to-date information, formulates policy and educates the public on housing needs and the strategies for solutions.