News Category

House Committee Approves Bipartisan Disaster Recovery Act That Will Ensure Equitable Housing Recovery for Those in Vulnerable Communities

Washington, D.C. – NLIHC and its Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) of more than 800 local, state, and national organizations strongly support the “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019,” introduced by Congressmembers Al Green (D-TX) and Ann Wagner (R-MO) and approved with strong bipartisan support today by the House Financial Services Committee.

Disasters are increasing in frequency and severity, with the lowest-income people most likely to be harmed. Low-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with young children, people experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable people are least able to evacuate prior to a storm, more likely to live in a flood plain or other at-risk areas and housing, and least likely to have financial resources to recover after a disaster. Our country’s disaster housing recovery system consistently leaves the lowest-income people and communities behind.

The Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019 is an important step towards ensuring that federal recovery efforts better reach those who need it most. The bill would permanently authorize the federal government’s primary long-term resource for rebuilding after a disaster, the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program and establish important safeguards and tools to help ensure federal disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts reach the lowest-income disaster survivors.

The bill requires states to allocate resources equitably between housing and infrastructure priorities and among homeowners, renters, and people experiencing homelessness. It requires that 70% of funds must benefit low- and moderate-income communities and sets clearer direction to HUD on when it can adjust this requirement. By directing the Office of Inspector General to oversee program outcomes, the bill will help ensure that CDBG-DR delivers on Congress’s intent to serve all eligible survivors. The bill would make public data on the impacts of each disaster and how resources are spent, promoting transparency and helping to better identify critical gaps in services. The bill would also require communities to prioritize the one-for-one replacement of federally subsidized affordable housing that is damaged or destroyed and to utilize their rebuilding funds in a manner that meets fair housing obligations.

Passage of this important legislation helps ensure housing recovery efforts are administered consistently, transparently, and with a priority for those most in need.

For more details on the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act, see NLIHC’s factsheet.


About NLIHC: Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, the National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that ensure people with the lowest income in the United States have affordable and decent homes.

About DHRC: NLIHC led coalition of more than 800 national, state, and local organizations, including many working directly with disaster-impacted communities and with first-hand experience recovering after disasters.