Housing News Network, March 2005

Vol. 21, No. 1

From the Editor

The four hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004 damaged more than 700,000 homes. For many of the affected Floridians, the markets will respond naturally to meet the housing needs that the storms created. Those families had appropriate levels of insurance and are able to pay for or finance the necessary repairs or rebuilding efforts, or they can find suitable and affordable replacement housing.

For many other Floridians, often the elderly, people with disabilities, and the poor, the markets will require additional incentives to respond. More than 15,000 Florida families are living in travel trailers and mobile homes that FEMA has provided, roughly 400,000 of those affected by the hurricanes have annual incomes below $30,000, and the housing stock that served the state’s elderly population suffered disproportionate levels of damage.

As part of Florida’s response, Governor Jeb Bush and I have recommended that the Florida Legislature appropriate $354.4 million in one-time hurricane housing recovery funds, above and beyond the $192.9 million in recurring state affordable housing funds that we have recommended in the traditional Florida programs, and above and beyond the supplemental $100.9 million in disaster recovery CDBG funds that the Department of Community Affairs will start to distribute soon. To recommend the most effective ways to leverage these one-time hurricane housing funds to best help the markets respond, Governor Bush created the Hurricane Housing Work Group and asked me to serve as its chair.