NAA Focuses on Recovery
As the flood waters recede from the Gulf Coast and Irma threatens Florida, the National Apartment Association is working with our affiliates and members in the affected areas to assess the depth and breadth of impacts from these hurricanes and to support recovery efforts. We wanted to update you on actions by the federal government in this area and ask for your help as NAA engages with policymakers.
Congress is voting this week to authorize additional federal disaster recovery funds so the clean-up and recovery process can continue uninterrupted. On Sept. 6, the House of Representatives passed legislation adding $7.4 billion to the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund, most of which will be used to help local communities clean-up and rebuild and to provide assistance to displaced residents. Also included in that legislation is $450 million for the Small Business Administration disaster loan program, which is intended to help homeowners, local businesses and others rebuild through low-interest, long-term loans. The Senate is doubling the aid to $15.25 billion in part to account for anticipated damage from hurricane Irma. Final action on the revised legislation is anticipated this week.
This is just the first allocation of funds, which is being called a down-payment in advance of a larger recovery bill at a later date. Based on comments from Congressional leaders, it seems likely that the legislation will be similar to legislation passed following Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, which included tax relief, direct funding programs and other resources. Developing that legislation is the next step of the process. In concert with the National Multifamily Housing Council, we will be talking with members of Congress and regulators about how our members’ businesses have been impacted, what they need and what lawmakers can do to help.
Recovery will take time but information from members in the affected areas plays an important role is marshalling needed resources from the federal government. It is crucial to have detailed information on specific needs of apartment owner/operators in the wake of these storms. As well, we need to understand any gaps in existing recovery programs and identify other issues that we need to bring to the attention of policymakers.
NAA is in close contact with our affiliate network in Texas, Florida and other affected areas to further our efforts on disaster recovery. If you are impacted by Harvey or Irma you can also play a role by letting us know what Congress or a government agency can do, by addressing gaps in existing recovery programs and other issues, to speed your recovery and bring your business back online. Send an email to [email protected] and tell us:
- How have you been impacted by Harvey or Irma?
- Are you accessing federal recovery resources through FEMA, the Small Business Administration or other federal agencies? What has been your experience?
- What are the remaining obstacles to bringing your apartment community or rental housing property back to full operation?
The more specific you are, the more precise we can be in our outreach to federal regulators and lawmakers.
There are other activities in response to Harvey and Irma taking place outside of Congress. In the regulatory space, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency issued two joint statements with other banking regulators on financial institutions and borrowers affected by Harvey and Irma, respectively. The statements include advice on flexibility in lending requirements, opportunities for Community Reinvestment Act credit in affected areas, investments, regulatory reporting requirements, publishing requirements and temporary banking facilities.
The Government Sponsored Enterprises, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, have also committed to help borrowers impacted by the hurricane through their existing loan programs. They are now assessing the damage to properties within their portfolios and will announce specific details of program changes soon. Additionally, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas has pledged $1 billion in low-cost loans to its member institutions in the impacted areas to support customers in communities affected by Harvey. Owners are strongly encouraged to contact their loan servicer as soon as possible if their property has sustained damage from the storm. We will maintain an ongoing dialogue with lenders, regulators and critical capital market participants with regard to multifamily borrower needs in the impacted areas.
NAA will continue updating affiliates and members as additional actions are taken by the federal government to assist in hurricane recovery efforts. Our top priority is ensuring that our members have access to all resources and are kept apprised of our efforts to secure support for the industry. Our Government Affairs team is always available to discuss storm recovery efforts by the federal government or any other issues of concern. Please send your correspondence to [email protected].