Monday, October 29, 2018

Shelter, Home, and Homelessness. If it struck tomorrow, would you be prepared?

Loss of home from disasters, living in shelter or temporary housing is a devastating crisis physically and emotionally.

A disaster can leave an individual or family and on even a larger scale communities homeless.

Homelessness is a serious issue globally in every major city.

From shelter to permanent housing must be a part of the planning and resiliency building process not only from disasters, but as a major consideration to address overall homelessness.

Can disaster\emergency management principles be used to address social issues that lead to major crisis of man-made disasters?  Yes.  Something for communities to consider.

BEMA International

How HUD Could Help More Families Affected by Natural Disasters
By Alys Cohen – Government Executive

After the winds die down and the flood waters recede, natural disaster survivors begin the long process of putting the pieces of their lives back together.  But for low-income homeowners, this period can exacerbate economic vulnerabilities, causing too many survivors to lose their homes amidst the struggle to rebuild. 

Earlier this year, HUD developed a new “disaster standalone partial claim” program to help homeowners who have mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration avoid foreclosure. 

However, unnecessary barriers to enrollment and the limited scope of the program place this critical lifeline out of reach for too many families struggling after recent storms and other disasters.

HUD introduced its new program in response to the 2017 hurricanes and wildfires to help borrowers impacted by natural disasters continue to make their mortgage payments and stay in their homes.  Through this program, disaster survivors can access an interest-free second mortgage loan to cover up to one year of missed mortgage payments. 

Borrowers generally repay the loan when they sell the home or refinance, and their initial mortgage terms remain unchanged.  For those who can access it, the program can be a life-saver.

For the partial claim option to work, mortgage servicers must be prepared to make eligibility determinations for an unexpected surge of homeowners when a disaster hits.  But rather than streamlining the process, HUD’s recently updated program retains unnecessary roadblocks, potentially leaving many vulnerable homeowners out in the cold.

For example, FHA homeowners with variable incomes, including small business owners and hourly service workers, are likely to have trouble with a requirement that their wages be equal to or greater than their wages prior to the disaster. 

Small business owners often have to temporarily close their businesses during a disaster and its aftermath.  Typically—and understandably—their income goes down post-disaster.  The same goes for their employees and other retail and service workers who depend on a steady stream of customers to make ends meet.  Those who have lost some of their wages as a result of a natural disaster, but who are able to make mortgage payments again—the very people who most need assistance keeping their homes—are unnecessarily blocked from the program’s benefits. 

HUD should establish a reasonable threshold below 100 percent of previous income to expand access to the program.

HUD’s process is also duplicative.  Applicants must show they can afford their mortgage payments in addition to showing that their current income meets the department’s requirements.  But if they were able to make their mortgage payments before the disaster, and their current income equals or exceeds their pre-disaster income, it should be obvious that they can still afford to make their payments, and HUD should not require them to prove that. 

Even if HUD were to adopt a threshold below 100 percent of pre-disaster income, it should be based on data analysis demonstrating likely affordability.  Moreover, HUD requires excessive documentation of income and expenses for homeowners seeking hardship assistance.  Department officials should act now to reduce this red tape, which can delay much-needed assistance.

HUD recently made improvements to the disaster standalone partial claim program, (i.e.  expanding the number of months of back payments that can be covered by the program) but only for the survivors of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S.  Virgin Islands. 

The improvements should also apply to disasters in other states and territories.  Texans impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Californians impacted by the wildfires, for example, are unable to access this revised program to help deal with storm-related back payments.  Survivors of Florence in the Carolinas and Hurricane Michael in Florida also are left out.

HUD’s new partial claim program must be broadly available to survivors of natural disasters who could use it to stabilize their mortgages in areas where the recovery is slow.  Until access to the partial claim option is expanded and further streamlined, survivors who can afford their current payments but need help catching up will be more likely to lose their homes and face further devastation.

Alys Cohen is a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center focusing on mortgage lending, foreclosure prevention, and low-income homeownership.  She also directs the Center’s disaster response work.

Black Emergency Managers Association 
1231  Good Hope Road  S.E.
Washington, D.C.   20020
Office:   202-618-9097 
bEMA International 

Change without Sacrifice is an Illusion.   Lisa Ellis

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Distribution of Relief Goods. DisasterReady October 23, 2018

Logistics and Distribution

Distribution of Relief Goods

In this short course, learn the steps and considerations involved in distributing relief goods. 

Food Security: National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association. Annual Winter Forum and Networking Dinner. Dec. 13-14, 2018

Climate Change and Disaster Assistance.

If in the Washington, D.C. area join me for The Rural Coalition of Black Farmers, and the National Latina Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association (NLFRTA) Annual Winter Forum and Networking Dinner at the National Press Club December 13-14, 2018.

Additional updates and information can be found at:
            Rural Coalition of Black Farmers:


The Rural Coalition
The National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association

Annual Winter Forum and Networking Dinner:
Celebrating 40 Years of Rural Resilience

Washington DC - December 13-14, 2018

Thurs. Dec 13 (9:00 AM –  5:00 PM - Location TBA)
Forum Program (tentative)

Fri. Dec. 14 (9 AM – 4 PM - Location TBA)
Forum Program (Tentative)
Morning – Building a Future for Agriculture for our Youth
A delegation will attend NASS Hall of Fame Event ( )
Afternoon-  Dialogue with our Partners and Allies on our shared work and the solutions we are building with communities.
Closing Session on Learning from our Histories.
Panelist During Days Event
Discussion:  Climate Change & Disaster Assistance
-Eugene Pickett.  Black Farmers & Ranchers of New Mexico
-Joel Segal.  Justice Action Mobilization Network
-Charles Sharp.  Black Emergency Managers Association International

Fri. Dec 14
(6 PM – 10 PM at National Press Club)
Networking Dinner at the National Press Club.

Black Emergency Managers Association 
1231  Good Hope Road  S.E.
Washington, D.C.  20020
Office:   202-618-9097 
bEMA International 

Change without Sacrifice is an Illusion.  Lisa Ellis

Thursday, October 18, 2018

City of Los Angeles Training and Exercise Calendar | 2018 - 2019

  • Family Assistance Center (FAC) Seminar | Tuesday, December 4, 2018
  • Disaster Recovery 101 Seminar | Tuesday, December 11, 2018
  • G393: Disaster Mitigation | Tuesday, January 29 - Thursday, January 31, 2019
  • G235: Emergency Planning | Tuesday, February 12 - Thursday, February 13, 2019
  • G290-291: Basic Public Information Officer (PIO) and Joint Information Center (JIC)/Joint Information System (JIS) | Monday, February 25 - Thursday, February 28, 2019

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Prepare, Respond, Recover with your Tax Dollars. IT's YOUR RIGHT. October 2018

We must prepare and plan for future disasters.  Climate change is real and the frequency and intensities of natural disaster will become more intense.

We must move forward as a collective and utilize our rights to the funding and other opportunities that we not only paid for in blood, sweat and tears, but thru annual taxes to both the State and Federal governments.  These are our monies that must be used for our purposes.

Keep in mind the following numbers:
1.      Five individuals for (primary & secondary’s) for CERT Train-the-Trainer and Program Manager Courses
2.      Twenty to twenty-five community members to start a CERT Team.

Please review information listed below on creation of a CERT Corp Council/Program registration process for username and password.

Gullah/Geechee Nation
-Consider Council or Program for each member nation state (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida).
-Each council shall have to coordinate efforts with local emergency management offices\agencies at State, and local level

CERT Corp Council/Program Registration

-        For login and account setup.
-        Start the process.

Citizen Corps Council / CERT Program Registration
Registration Overview
FEMA is asking all new and existing local Citizen Corps Councils and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Programs to register or re-register on the National Citizen Corps and CERT websites.

FEMA has two newly improved online registries that will demonstrate community readiness efforts of local Citizen Corps Councils and CERT Programs.

Providing a snapshot of local success, the registries collect and share over 100 data points for each registered Council and CERT Program.

New data collected will allow Councils and CERT Programs to share information highlighting community partnerships and activities among government and civic leaders, integration of non-governmental resources into government plans and protocols, local efforts to improve personal and organizational preparedness, and volunteer programs and volunteer disaster response activities.

Councils and CERT Programs are sponsored by local emergency management or elected leaders and registry submissions are reviewed by each State before being posted on the website.

Every Citizen Corps Council and CERT Program is required to re-register as if they were creating a new Citizen Corps Council or CERT Program – even if they previously registered – if they wish to have a listing in the Citizen Corps and CERT directory.  Please note that only Citizen Corps Councils and CERT Programs may register.  The registry is not for individual CERT Teams that are organized within a CERT Program.

Outreach and Assistance
FEMA will promote registration through different channels to encourage and guide Citizen Corps Council and CERT Program leaders in updating their Council’s or Program’s online profiles. Outreach and assistance efforts include:
• Series of webinars that walk users through the registration process from the perspectives of a Citizen Corps Council coordinator, a CERT Program coordinator, or a state or Regional CERT or Citizen Corps coordinator
• How-to guides for Councils / CERT Programs
• Outbound calling and follow-up emails to all Citizen Corps Councils and CERT Programs to encourage participation and serve as a reminder to complete registration process
• Technical assistance will be provided by State Citizen Corps Council Coordinators and State CERT Program Coordinators. State Coordinators should contact FEMA Regional Community Preparedness Program Managers as needed. Technical difficulties and comments regarding the registration forms should be reported to or

To begin registering and to obtain current information and guidance documents for registration, go to the Citizen Corps and CERT Program websites at

The websites will provide how-guides, recorded instructional tutorials, other resources, and up-to-date information.

This effort will provide the public and organizations with accurate information; information which will emphasize the tremendous work accomplished to date and serve as a baseline for future individual and community preparedness and resiliency projects. Information sharing is a critical component of building and sustaining preparedness nationwide.

The data collected will provide needed information to community residents and showcase innovative practices for replicating local achievements.

Data can be also be used to generate reports at the local, state, regional, and federal level, as well as guide FEMA’s mission.

Black Emergency Managers Association 
1231  Good Hope Road  S.E.
Washington, D.C.  20020
Office:   202-618-9097 
bEMA International 

Change without Sacrifice is an Illusion.  Lisa Ellis

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Healthy Volunteers for an outpatient research study needed. October 16, 2018

Brain & Cognition Research Study
Researchers are enrolling healthy volunteers for an outpatient research study to learn more about how the brain works.

Research participation may include cognitive tasks, personality tests, brain imaging and/or magnetoencephalography (MEG).  Participants may choose which research tasks they would like to participate in, which determines the number of visits (1-12) to the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD.

The study is enrolling eligible participants, between the ages of 18 and 65, who are in good physical health, and at least a high school education. There is no cost to participate and compensation is provided.

For more information:
NIH Clinical Center Office of Patient Recruitment
TTY for the deaf or hard of hearing: 1-866-411-1010
NIH Study 93-M-0170

 NIH Logo
Contact Us

FEMA Private Sector Advisory. October 16, 2018. Response Efforts Continue

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Office of External Affairs,
Private Sector Engagement

Private Sector Advisory

Response Efforts Continue for Hurricane Michael Survivors

October 16, 2018
WASHINGTON –  As the response to Hurricane Michael continues, local and state responders, federal teams and voluntary agencies continue providing assistance to help survivors begin their recovery.

“Disaster response works best when it is locally executed, state managed and federally supported,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long. “FEMA is coordinating round-the-clock efforts by thousands of trained responders. Whether it is FEMA personnel, voluntary organizations or members of the military, there are a lot of people working to help survivors.”

Since Michael’s landfall, search and rescue teams from FEMA, the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard and others, working alongside state responders and volunteers, have completed 152 evacuations, 4,194 rescues/assists, 21,568 shelter in place checks, and 2,100 animal assists. More than 27,000 structural assessments were completed in Florida.

FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance teams are in Florida helping survivors register for assistance. More than 36,000 individuals in Florida contacted FEMA for help and information, including for disaster assistance and referrals to federal, state and voluntary agency sources of disaster assistance.

Sixteen different states are sending support through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. More than 35 missions are active in Florida; there are three missions active in Georgia. Nearly 500 people deployed to assist missions in both states.

Additionally, more than 30,000 utility workers from several states are assisting with power restoration missions throughout the impacted areas.

Distribution sites are providing meals, water and other items in areas where stores are not open, or where supplies are limited.  For locations:
  • Florida residents should visit
  • Georgia residents should visit Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency's website.

Residents in the impacted areas should:
  • Keep yourself and your family safe. Return home only if you are told it is safe by local officials. As you clear debris please look carefully around the debris for any visible cables. If you see any cables, wait for professional help.  Power cables can kill easily.
  • Be strong. Focus on your specific needs and take care of one another. Shelters are providing information, charging stations, and connection to assistance from federal, state, and voluntary agencies. They also have communications support, so you can contact loved ones and let them know you’re safe.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Register for assistance online at if you have damages not covered by insurance. Contact the Disaster Distress Helpline by texting TalkWithUs to 66746 or call 1-800-985-5990 (for Spanish, press 2 or text Hablanos to 66746) to speak with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Get started on your recovery. Photograph/video damages, and then begin cleaning up. Contact your insurance company to file a claim

Other federal, private sector and voluntary organizations response actions include:  
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Disaster Distress Helpline is available to assist survivors in coping with the stress. To connect with a trained crisis counselor, call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 (for Spanish, press 2 or text Hablanos to 66746).
  • Eight Health and Human Services Disaster Medical Assistance Teams are caring for patients at four emergency departments in Florida. The teams treated 500 emergency patients and are also providing medical care at one shelter.  
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are implementing the Operation Blue Roof program today and will be starting right of entry collection in Bay County.
  • The Corps is engaged in 14 response programs including providing temporary emergency power in Florida, offering technical assistance on debris removal, route clearance and temporary roofing and assessing critical public facilities and infrastructure.
  • The temporary power team has installed two generators in Florida, with three installations in progress. Three generators have been installed in Georgia, with three more installations in progress.  
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • EPA engineers are assisting local officials as they assess drinking water and wastewater facilities in communities affected by Hurricane Michael. An EPA mobile lab is providing support to restore Bay County’s drinking water operations.
U.S. Department of Labor
  • National Dislocated Worker Grant funding is available to help Florida assess its workforce needs due to significant job losses caused by Hurricane Michael. This funding assists the state and local governments to expand service capacity of dislocated worker training and employment programs.
Internal Revenue Service
  • The IRS granted an extension of the Oct. 15 and other filing deadlines to people who were affected by Hurricane Michael. Survivors in parts of Florida and elsewhere have until Feb. 28, 2019, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments.
Whole Community Response Efforts: Government agencies are just one part of the team. Partnerships with faith-based, voluntary and non-governmental agencies, and the private sector help support survivors who need assistance:  
  • The Salvation Army mobilized 70 mobile feeding units with a combined service capacity of 105,000 daily meals. Since the response to Hurricane Michael began, the Salvation Army has served more than 59,000 meals and provided emotional and spiritual support to 2,839 survivors.
  • Operation Barbeque Relief has field kitchens in Florida with a total meal capacity of 30,000 meals per day.
  • In Florida, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief opened a disaster kitchen which can produce up to 20,000 meals per day. Three more kitchens with an additional 40,000 meals per day capacity are expected to open today.
  • In Georgia, Southern Baptists Disaster Relief is opening one kitchen today with a capacity of 15,000 meals per day.
  • Airbnb homes have opened to host displaced survivors for free, 214 available in Georgia and Florida including 63 in the Panhandle area.
  • Comcast is offering free access to 8,000 XFINITY WiFi hotspots in Tallahassee and the Panhandle. The service is available to customers and non-customers.
  • Verizon has two, free charging stations in Albany, Ga. Verizon’s Big Red Command Trailer has multiple workstations and satellite connectivity and is supporting the Bay County Emergency Operations Center.
  • Voluntary technology professionals at Information Technology Disaster Resource Center are providing free communications support for Albany, Ga.
  • Datto is working with the Red Cross to provide internet in Florida shelters.
  • Uber is offering free rides, worth up to $25 each, to and from shelters.  

If you have any questions, please contact FEMA’s Office of External Affairs Private Sector Engagement team at

Please help support FEMA’s mission of “Helping people before, during and after disasters.”

Download the FEMA App to locate and get directions to open shelters across the state, and receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States. Follow FEMA online at,, and Also, follow Administrator Brock Long's activities at The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

The 2018-2022 Strategic Plan creates a shared vision for the field of emergency management and sets an ambitious, yet achievable, path forward to unify and further professionalize emergency management across the country. We invite all of our stakeholders and partners to also adopt these priorities and join us in building a stronger Agency and a more prepared and resilient Nation.

Subscribe to receive the External Affairs Bulletin and Private Sector Advisories.

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