DRH Program Report

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We did it! After over a year of research, discussions, writing, diagramming, and even more editing, we delivered the Disaster Recovery Housing program report to the Texas General Land Office this week. The report is the policy component of the RAPIDO pilot program and an outgrowth of lessons learned through the pilot.

The report is the combination of a set of policy recommendations that outlines high level policy change recommendations, a technical guide that serves as a step-by-step manual for local jurisdictions who adopt the program, and a program comparison that details post disaster housing pilot programs and common challenges.

In 2008, the Lower Rio Grande Valley experienced major devastation at the hand of hurricanes Dolly and Ike. Wind and flood damage in the four county area topped 1 billion dollars; however, in 2013 hundreds of families were still living in homes with flood and wind damage, ultimately triggering a second round of disaster recovery. The purpose of the DRH program is to develop a system that would be able to respond to housing recovery faster, cheaper, and with greater choice. Our program utilized the innovative temporary-to-permanent design tested in the RAPIDO pilot to rehouse families affected by a disaster within 120 days of disaster response.

Disaster recovery planning and preparedness are also key elements of the policy recommendations and technical guide. We believe that developing a disaster housing recovery plan prior to a disaster will remove many of the barriers that contribute to housing recovery spanning into years instead of months. Pre-disaster planning affords the local jurisdiction an opportunity to identify community priorities, understand disaster risks, and develop a response that supports the local context.

While this is a big moment for [bc], the development of the DRH program report would not be possible without the RAPIDO team and partners. This report was developed in conjunction with the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville and Shannon Van Zandt’s team at the Hazard Recovery and Reduction Center at Texas A&M University we would also like to thank our partners LUPE, ARISE,  and Texas Low Income Housing Information Services, along with our remarkable team of advisors. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for the DRH program, the CORE temp-to-perm housing model, and possible future legislation. Disasters will happen, and the DRH program is a Texas solution that promotes a local response to rebuilding our communities thoughtfully.