Old SanJuan, Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria in 2017

photo by: Jason Heskewvia/AP

Disaster Recovery

Helping historic communities recover from climate- and weather-related disasters

A distinct set of challenges await for communities and individual building owners responding to natural disasters, such as the catastrophic flooding brought on by 2017 hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, or the deadly wildfires in Montana and in California. But those affected by these disasters are not alone or without resources.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is working with FEMA, the Texas Historical Commission, and Preservation Houston to complete damage assessments in Houston, Texas. In Florida, we created a digital mapping project that overlays flooded areas with historic property using a digital database maintained by Florida’s State Historic Preservation Office. And in Southern California, we provided a $5,000 grant to document historic buildings lost or severely damaged by fires.

The Trust also gave $25,000 to the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico to assess damage of historic properties affected by Hurricane Maria, in addition to sending them 200 tarps to help protect impacted buildings. And in January 2018, American Express awarded the National Trust a disaster recovery grant totaling $450,000 to support efforts to rehabilitate LULAC Council 60 Clubhouse in Houston, Texas; Dr. James M. Jackson's Office and Surgery in Miami, Florida; and various structures and landscapes within Paraíso Las Lunas, a nature preserve in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

While we are taking steps to address affected areas’ needs on the local, state, and federal levels—such as advocating for general disaster relief funding—there are a number of ways to help the places in your community that are in critical condition. The resources below can help building owners respond quickly and effectively in order to minimize property damage and ensure a safe return home.

Preservation Leadership Forum: Disaster Recovery Resources

Preservation Leadership Forum offers comprehensive information about how to prepare, respond, and recover from natural disasters.

Being prepared for a disaster can help mitigate extensive damage to your historic home or property and give you peace of mind. From fires to hurricanes to floods, this collection of stories provides you with the tools and resources you need to stay one step ahead of the unthinkable.