Washington, D.C. – The Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition of more than 700 local, state, and national organizations commends the decision made on June 30 by the U.S. federal court to temporarily halt the evictions of nearly 2,000 families displaced by the 2017 disasters and urges Congress to enact longer-term housing solutions to ensure that no survivor faces the increased risk of homelessness. The lawsuit was filed by Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition members, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Faith in Action.
FEMA decided to arbitrarily end the Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) hotel program on June 30, regardless of whether survivors had stable, affordable homes in place. At the same time, FEMA has refused to activate longer-term housing solutions, including the Disaster Housing Assistance Program, despite requests made by impacted individuals, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, dozens of members of Congress, and homelessness and housing advocates. As a result, thousands of survivors have had no choice but to double or triple up with other families, sleep in cars, return to their uninhabitable homes, or pay half of their income on rent. Precarious housing situations make it harder for families to fully recover and put them at increased risk of evictions, and in worst cases, homelessness.
“By temporarily halting FEMA’s further displacement of nearly 2,000 families, the federal courts are holding FEMA accountable for the predictable increase in homelessness that could result from its decision to arbitrarily end its hotel program,” said National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Now it is Congress’s turn to hold FEMA accountable, by enacting legislation to provide survivors with the proven long-term disaster housing solutions that they need to get back on their feet.”
Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.