A coalition of more than 850 local, state, & national organizations commends the House of Representatives for passing bipartisan legislation that will ensure long-term disaster recovery resources reach the lowest-income survivors.
Washington, D.C. – The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and its Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) of more than 850 local, state, and national organizations support the “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019,” approved today, 290-118, with strong bipartisan support by the House of Representatives. This legislation is an important and long-overdue step towards equitable disaster housing recovery and rebuilding.
The Reforming Disaster Recovery Act, introduced by Representatives Al Green (D-TX) and Ann Wagner (R-MO), permanently authorizes the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program, the federal government’s primary long-term disaster recovery program that 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 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.
The bill includes measures to help ensure scarce resources are available to low-income survivors and communities that face the greatest recovery needs. It requires states to allocate resources equitably between housing and infrastructure priorities and among homeowners, renters, and people experiencing homelessness. The bill maintains the requirement that 70% of funds must benefit low- and moderate-income communities and sets clearer direction to HUD on when it can adjust this requirement.
This legislation helps ensure that the affordable housing crisis is not made worse by disasters by prioritizing the one-for-one replacement of federally subsidized affordable housing that is damaged or destroyed. 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 makes public important data on the impacts of disasters and how resources are spent, promoting transparency, allowing effective public participation in the development of state recovery plans, and helping state and local governments and philanthropic organizations better identify critical gaps in services. The bill also helps Congress ensure that the recovery process is administered consistently and that dollars can flow more quickly to communities in need.
“On behalf of NLIHC and our DHRC, I commend the House of Representatives for approving this important bipartisan legislation that will ensure that long-term disaster recovery resources better reach the lowest-income survivors, including people of color, seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, people experiencing homelessness, and other vulnerable people and the communities they live in,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “This is an important and long-overdue step towards ensuring that those most likely to be harmed by disasters – low-income and other marginalized people and communities – are prioritized for disaster recovery and mitigation resources. Congress should quickly enact this important legislation, before the next disaster strikes.”
About DHRC: NLIHC led coalition of more than 850 national, state, and local organizations, including many working directly with disaster-impacted communities and with first-hand experience recovering after disasters.