Take Action! Urge Congress to Enact Key Disaster Recovery Bills

Please ask your senators and representatives to co-sponsor three disaster recovery bills to help ensure low income survivors receive the housing resources they need to get back on their feet.

NLIHC and its Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition of more than 700 local, state, and national organizations strongly support:

  • “The Reforming Disaster Recovery Act” (H.R. 4557), introduced by Representative Anne Wagner (R-MO);
  • “The Housing Victims of Major Disasters Act” (S. 2996 and H.R. 5474), introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY); and
  • “TheDisaster Housing Assistance Act” (S. 2880), introduced by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL).

Please call your senators and representatives and urge them to co-sponsor these critical bills.

Background

The Reforming Disaster Recovery Act (H.R. 4557) was approved today by the House Financial Services Committee. It permanently authorizes the federal government’s primary long-term disaster rebuilding program, the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program, which provides states and communities with the flexible resources needed to rebuild affordable housing and infrastructure after a disaster. The bill also establishes important safeguards and tools to help ensure that federal disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts reach all impacted households, including those with the lowest incomes who are often the hardest-hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover. For more information, read press releases from NLIHC and Rep. Wagner.

The Housing Victims of Major Disasters Act (S. 2996 and H.R. 5474) and the Disaster Housing Assistance Act (S. 2880) direct FEMA to activate the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) to provide families displaced by the 2017 hurricanes and wildfires withdirect rental assistance to help them live in affordable, stable homes while they recover. FEMA has refused to activate DHAP, despite a formal request by the Governor of Puerto Rico. Without DHAP, low income survivors have had little choice but to move into uninhabitable or overcrowded homes, sleep at shelters or on the street, or pay far too much of their limited incomes on rent, making it harder to meet their other basic needs.

The Housing Victims of Major Disasters Act also requires FEMA to consult with HUD on activating DHAP after future disasters and includes changes to make it easier for survivors without formal title to their homes in Puerto Rico and elsewhere to get FEMA assistance. The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Markey (D-MA), Blumenthal (D-CT), Merkley (D-OR), Durbin (D-IL), Sanders (I-VT), Gillibrand (D-NY), and Harris (D-CA). For more information, see the DHAP factsheet and cosponsors of the Senate bill.

Take Action

Please call your members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act (H.R. 4557), the Housing Victims of Major Disasters Act (S. 2996 and H.R. 5474), and the Disaster Housing Assistance Act (S. 2880).

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