Preliminary Recommendations for a Statewide Disaster Housing Reconstruction Program

Texas Low Income Housing Information Service continues to act as the research and advocacy arm of the Texas Grow Home Project. As such , TxLIHIS is developing a list of recommendations for the design, production, case management, and program administration of a statewide program that helps low-income homeowners rebuild after a disaster. These recommendations have been informed by the Texas Grow Home Design Competition, Prototype Construction Pilot Project, and Conversation Series. Architects, planners, developers, builders, modular manufacturers, disaster recovery organizations, CDCs, affordable housing advocates, state agencies, local government officials, and homeowners have provided the feedback necessary to make these recommendations. These recommendations are intended to inform the work of the state appointed Disaster Housing Committee, which is tasked with developing alternatives to current housing reconstruction programs. Below is a preliminary list of our recommendations, we invite your comments, questions, and critiques.

Design

  • Develop a database of tested ready-to-go disaster housing designs that respond to the design program and design guidelines.
  • Develop a disaster recovery network of architects that (1) design for the database of disaster housing and (2) provide the necessary architectural services in the wake of a disaster.
  • Select participating architects through a competitive RFQ process.
  • Develop selection criteria for participating architects based on (1) the innovation and appropriateness of the design solution and (2) the experience and capacity of the firm/architect to provide the necessary services.
  • Develop a commission structure for architectural services, which outlines the amount paid for the (1) schematic design, (2) first constructed design, (3) each repeated construction of the design, and (4) site revisions as needed.
  • Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the architect with regards to (1) schematic design, (2) design development, (3) construction drawings, (4) involvement in bidding process, (5) construction observation, and (6) close-out reports
  • Develop a design program that outlines the expectations of function, size, and affordability of designs.
  • Develop guidelines and technical specifications for the durability, accessibility, energy efficiency, design, and community acceptance of all disaster housing designs.
  • Appoint committees in every region to select disaster housing designs on behalf of their community.

Housing Production

  • Develop a disaster recovery network of builders and manufacturers may be contracted to construct and/or manufacture homes in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Select participating builders and manufacturers through a competitive IFB process prior to a disaster.
  • Specifies the cost for each disaster housing design as a cap amount. (70,000)
  • Select and commission builders and manufacturers based on (1) their bids for the disaster housing designs and (2) the experience and ability to provide the necessary services in the wake of a disaster.
  • Use the bill of quantities as an ‘anticipated contract’ for a period of five years.
  • Require local governments to allow third-party inspections for all builders or manufacturers rebuilding in disaster-impacted areas.
  • Pass a universal disaster building code for a designated period of time following a disaster in order to streamline the rebuilding process.
  • Pre-permit or pre-approve disaster housing designs at the local permitting departments.
  • Provide financial incentives for local jurisdictions to participate in a Disaster Housing Reconstruction Program.

Case Management

  • Develop a disaster recovery network of case management providers that are selected and trained to provide client intake and case management for the local entity, or ‘Program Manager’, that is administering the Disaster Housing Reconstruction Program. – the Program Manager can (1) contract the selected provider as a partnering organization or (2) hire case managers from the selected provider.
  • Select case management providers through a competitive RFQ process.
  • Select case management providers based on their (1) experience in providing case management services, preferably in the aftermath of disasters and (2) understanding of the needs, resources, and cultural expectations of local communities.
  • Adopt a single disaster case management standard from which all providers and case managers must follow.
  • Fund disaster case management training to all providers prior to a disaster.
  • Specify services provided under client intake and case management’
  • Set aside funds, within the Disaster Housing Reconstruction Program, for (1) client intake and (2) case management.
  • Develop a performance-based funding structure by which the entity administering disaster housing reconstruction compensates case managers for the time (in house or through a partnering organization).

Program Management

  • Develop a disaster recovery network of ‘Program Managers’ that are identified and trained to administer a Disaster Housing Reconstruction Program for each identified jurisdiction (region, county, or city).
  • Select local Program Managers through a competitive RFQ process, which is revisited every five years.
  • Select Program Managers based on their (1) understanding of the needs, resources, and cultural expectations of their community; (2) ability to access and administer private and public dollars; (3) ability to work closely with national, state and local government entities and non-profit organizations; and (4) ability to quickly assemble and coordinate all necessary staff and partnerships.
  • Define standards for the following required services; (1) program administration, (2) client screening and intake, (3) outreach, (4) program marketing, (5) disaster case management, and (6) construction management. The Program Manager does not necessarily need to provide all these services in-house, but must be held accountable for partnering with providers that uphold the defined standards.
  • Provide management and organizational training to all participating Program Managers.
  • Provide ongoing consulting services to Program Managers to support innovative partnerships at the local level.
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