National, state, and local organizations call on House and Senate Committees ensure FEMA addresses the housing needs of low-income natural disaster survivors
Washington, D.C. – NLIHC and the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) of more than 800 local, state, and national organizations sent a letter to the congressional leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committees about FEMA’s repeated failure to address the housing needs of low-income disaster survivors. The letter calls on the committees to hold oversight hearings to examine the agency’s repeated failure to address the housing needs of the lowest-income disaster survivors - including people with disabilities, seniors, families with children, and those experiencing homelessness prior to a disaster - and to work with advocates and other stakeholders on much-needed reforms.
Hurricanes Michael, Florence and the California wildfires in 2018 destroyed or damaged nearly 150,000 homes. Several months after these disasters took place, far too many low-income survivors are still struggling to meet their most basic need: a safe, affordable place to call home. Almost 100 people in Chico, CA, were left struggling to find safe places to live as the last shelter closed on January 31. Nearly 500 survivors of the Campfire wildfires living in cars, trailers, or in parking lots were forced to leave when their vehicles did not meet certain standards, or they were unable to pay daily fees. And other disaster survivors face a number of barriers in using the FEMA-funded Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) hotel-stay program.
NLIHC and the DHRC criticize FEMA for repeating the mistakes it made after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California wildfires of 2017 – particularly its slow recovery response and its refusal to activate proven longer-term housing solutions, like the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP). The advocates call on congressional leaders to hold oversight hearings on FEMA’s performance and to reform the federal disaster recovery system.
“On behalf of NLIHC and the DHRC, I call on the Senate Homeland Security and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committees to hold FEMA accountable for its failure to meet the basic housing needs of people with the lowest incomes,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “We urge you to hold oversight hearings to examine the agency’s repeated neglect of low-income survivors’ housing needs and to formulate and implement reforms to ensure equitable housing recovery is provided to all survivors of these and future disasters.”
See the DHRC’s letter to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee at: https://bit.ly/2Dca6Yi
About the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC): A group of more than 800 local, state, and national organizations dedicated to ensuring the federal response to disaster recovery prioritizes the housing needs of the lowest income people in the impacted areas. The group, which is led by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, works with local partners affected by disasters in 2017 and 2018, as well as with HUD, FEMA, and members of Congress.
About National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC): 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.