Washington, DC - Eight months after Hurricane Michael decimated the Florida panhandle and seven months since wildfires devastated parts of California, Congress agreed to provide much-needed recovery resources to impacted communities. While they’ve waited for Congress to act, thousands of the lowest-income disaster survivors have been sleeping in tents and on the street, doubling and tripling up with other low-income families, or paying too much of their income on rent, putting them at increased risk of homelessness.
The bill includes a provision requiring Secretary Carson to release mitigation funds that he has inexplicably and inexcusably held for over a year since Congress appropriated them. Fifteen months after Congress approved $16 billion in disaster mitigation funding for the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR), HUD has yet to provide those resources to communities impacted by Hurricanes Maria, Irma and Harvey to allow them to rebuild stronger to withstand the next storm. HUD continues to withhold this crucial resource because of the president’s obstinance in allowing funds to go to Puerto Rico. Over 33,000 deeply poor Puerto Rican families sleep in homes with roofs that were blown off by Hurricane Maria and never replaced, and the next hurricane season is rapidly approaching. Every day of HUD’s inaction in getting these funds to Puerto Rico puts American lives at risk from the next hurricane.