On September 23, FEMA released its final National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), which outlines the process by which the federal government supports disaster recovery efforts. The NDRF includes “housing recovery” as one of its six recovery support functions, reflecting in part the need to consider the circumstances of low income residents following a major disaster.
Throughout the framework’s development, NLIHC has urged FEMA to recognize that not all households, especially extremely low income ones, have the necessary resources to prepare for disasters and that the federal government must ensure that all citizens receive fair and equal treatment in the aftermath of a catastrophic event.
The NDRF notes these concerns to a certain extent. “Care must be taken to assure that actions, both intentional and unintentional, do not exclude groups of people based on race, color, national origin (including limited English proficiency), religion, sex, or disability,” according to the framework. “Care must be taken to identify and eradicate social and institutional barriers that hinder or preclude individuals with disabilities and others in the community historically subjected to unequal treatment.”
One intended outcome of the housing recovery function is that “pre- and post-disaster interaction and problem solving among federal agencies and stakeholders with a focus on reconstructing permanent housing, including affordable and accessible housing that incorporates resilience, sustainability, and mitigation concepts are facilitated.”
Since the aftermath of the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, advocates have cautioned that state and local governments often have limited ability to lead disaster recovery efforts. As a result, they have encouraged the federal government to take a leadership role in long-term recovery and have primary responsibility for ensuring that the housing needs of those impacted are met.
NLIHC will continue to analyze the NDRF in conjunction with the Katrina Housing Group it convenes. According to a FEMA press release, the agency will hold forums in its 10 regions and Washington, DC to discuss the framework and its implementation. Cities and dates have not yet been announced.
The final NDRF is available at: http://www.fema.gov/recoveryframework/