The Texas Grow Home Conversation Series will consist of eight meetings held every third Wednesday from 4pm – 6pm (location to be announced). Each meeting will discuss and develop recommendations for various topics associated with low-income homeowner recovery. Recommendations developed during each meeting will be used to inform the work of the Natural Disaster Housing Reconstruction Advisory Committee. Each topic will be posted on the Texas Grow Home blog one week prior to each meeting. We encourage you to post questions and comments associated with each topic in order to expand and enhance the conversation.
The first of the Texas Grow Home Conversation Series will focus on the topic of Design and will be held, Wednesday, January 27. Attendance is ideal, but the goal of the Conversation Series is to get people thinking about solutions. Stay tuned to the blog and join us in person when you can.
Recent hurricanes have tested the ability of the government to efficiently direct recovery funds to those who need it most. Disaster housing recovery programs developed in response to recent hurricanes have worked well for middle-income homeowner recovery, in some instances. These programs, however, have proven inadequate for low-income homeowner recovery. Current programs lack the comprehensive social approach necessary to support a sustained recovery for low-income victims of a natural disaster. Neglecting low-income homeowners, in their time of greatest need, will only create greater need for social programs in the future.
The State of Texas is in the process of reinventing its approach to disaster housing recovery. The Texas Legislature passed a bill, during the last legislative session, which called for the creation of a Natural Disaster Housing Reconstruction Advisory Committee. This committee will design alternatives to existing models to improve the sustainability, affordability, desirability, and quality of housing rebuilt in the event of future natural disasters. Building upon the efforts and goals of the Texas Grow Home Project, the Conversation Series will develop program recommendations that can impact the work of this Advisory Committee.
The Conversation Series is organized around eight topics that should be addressed in a disaster housing reconstruction program for low-income homeowners. The topics are as follows: (1) design; (2) development; (3) construction; (4) case management; (5) public participation; (6) program management; (7) state response; and (8) federal response.
Hurricane Policy is a work in progress. The Texas Grow Home Project seeks to replace the failed status quo that has left disaster survivors poorly housed, and communities broken. Texas needs a permanent and comprehensive housing solution. Policy-makers need input from experienced architects, developers, planners, case managers, disaster recovery professionals, housing advocates, and victims of natural disaster. A disaster recovery program can and should leave people, homes, and communities better off than before the disaster.