The State of Florida is preparing a plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in federal recovery funds to benefit low and moderate income Floridians impacted by Hurricane Irma. This is our chance to help shape recovery plans and ensure that low income communities and communities of color are not displaced as a result of Hurricane Irma or the rebuilding process.
Community groups, legal advocates and everyday Floridians participated in the latest public comment period for the Draft Substantial Amendment to the State Action Plan. Here are some of the comment letters:
Let Florida’s leaders know that we need a more equitable plan by submitting your comments to CDBG-DR@DEO.MyFlorida.com by November 8, 2018.
Here are some suggested comments from our community partners, make them your own:
Over a year out from Hurricane Irma it is clear that our communities are still struggling to recover, particularly when it comes to meeting housing needs. The proposed Substantial Amendment to the State Action Plan for Disaster Recovery must protect our families and strengthen low-and moderate-income communities - including renters and mobile home residents.
Its most significant problems include:
• Unmet Needs of Renters - Low-to-moderate income households are still struggling to meet basic needs of housing as a result of Hurricane Irma. Before funds are diverted to infrastructure projects, more resources must be put towards direct assistance to impacted renters. Displaced tenants need assurances they can return to the communities they were displaced from, rents they can afford, set asides for the lowest income families, and longer-term affordability periods for new and rehabbed housing.
• Unmet Needs of Mobile Home Residents - The plan must ensure a cost-effective system for replacing mobile homes with high quality, safe homes through bulk purchase from local or non-profit manufacturers. Mobile homes that are more than 5 years old or have more than $15,000 in damage must also be considered in these plans. It is critical that resources for repair and replacement of homes and infrastructure fixes benefit low-income residents and do not just line the pockets of corporate community owners, many of which are out of state companies. Most importantly, we must ensure that the recovery dollars are not incentivizing displacement of low-income residents through increases in lot rental amounts or fees.
• Communities of Color - The plan fails to consider data at the city or neighborhood level, nor does it analyze racial disparities in funding. Communities of color have been underinvested in by our leaders for generations and face an even tougher road to recovery. An effective action plan must consider and address this.
With hurricanes and other climate emergencies quickly becoming the new norm, we have an obligation not just to rebuild housing and physical infrastructure, but to invest in people and strengthen communities. Leaving out renters, mobile home owners and communities of color further destabilizes not just families, but entire neighborhoods.
This is an important moment for Florida. Let’s be better and bolder by leaning into an equitable plan for recovery, together.
Community groups, legal advocates and everyday Floridians participated in the public comment period. Here are some of the comment letters:
Senator Bill Nelson also weighed in with a letter.
More than sixty members of the public submitted comments.