Washington, DC – Last week Congresswoman Dina Titus (D-NV), Ranking Member of the House subcommittee with oversight of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Congressman Garret Graves (R-LA) reintroduced the bipartisan Disaster Survivors Fairness Act. The act would simplify the process for seeking assistance following a major disaster, expand communities’ access to hazard mitigation assistance to help build future resiliency, and ensure that FEMA resources are going to those who need the most help.
“Today’s disasters cause more damage, have greater impacts on communities, and require more time and money to recover. While we confront the climate crisis that makes them worse, we also need to support affected communities’ recovery processes by cutting red tape at FEMA,” said Rep. Titus. “My legislation would streamline the delivery of resources to affected individuals and neighborhoods, ensure we are being good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and provide more flexibility in post-disaster housing solutions.”
“The current disaster recovery system is as useful as a screen door during a hurricane. Our bipartisan legislation changes the status quo and empowers states to tailor response to the communities based on the disaster at hand instead of forcing a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Rep. Graves. “This will put families back in their homes faster, stronger building, provide emergency housing solutions for law enforcement officials and emergency responders, and save taxpayer dollars. A win-win-win-win for communities across the country.”
The bipartisan Disaster Survivors Fairness Act, which passed the U.S. House last session, includes a series of reforms to improve disaster assistance programs and survivor outcomes by:
- Creating a universal application for federal disaster assistance and enabling federal agencies to share relevant disaster assistance information with each other;
- Giving FEMA new authorities that significantly expand the Agency’s ability to fund mitigation projects that make disaster damaged homes more resilient;
- Expanding the types of repairs FEMA may approve for disaster damaged homes and authorizes FEMA to provide direct repair assistance to homeowners;
- Authorizing FEMA to reimburse states that implement their own innovative post-disaster housing solutions;
- Requiring FEMA to develop new post-disaster solutions for renters and share them with Congress;
- Supporting efforts to shelter working emergency response personnel immediately following a disaster; and
- Requiring FEMA and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to complete a series of reports and studies that would identify additional challenges regarding the administration of post-disaster assistance for survivors and boost transparency.
This legislation is supported by the following organizations: American Institute of Architects (AIA), BuildStrong Coalition, Disaster Recovery Coalition of America (DRCA), International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), National Association of Counties (NACo), and SBP USA.