Lesson from Sandy: Better Disaster Planning Needed for public housing authorities
This tragic article in yesterday's New York Times, "Housing Agency's Flaws Revealed by Storm," reminds me that I intend to write a long overview post-Superstorm Sandy piece, in addition to this entry that was first posted last week at Rooflines, the blog of the National Housing Institute.
- Disaster planning for public housing systems individually and at the state and federal levels must be updated (e.g., HUD's Disaster Recovery Toolkit doesn't seem to address how to provide housing if multiunit buildings have been lost).
- Update disaster planning for individual properties as part of asset and risk management programs as well.
- Build resiliency into at-risk properties by moving critical systems (such as boilers) out of danger zones.
- Build backup and redundancy into at-risk properties.
- Identify opportunities for re-housing and supporting tenants as necessary (military theater type housing and supports could perhaps be an option, held by HUD and FEMA in reserve).
- Make plans to provide special assistance to seniors, the disabled, and the infirm (See Disabled people especially vulnerable in calamities such as Sandy, Identifying Vulnerable Older Adults and Legal Options for Increasing Their Protection During All-Hazards Emergencies: A Cross-Sector Guide for States and Communities.)
- Engage residents in disaster planning beforehand.
- Upgrade security plan and methods of communicating outward to residents, especially when traditional methods are at the mercy of electricity.