The House of Representatives voted on June 3 to approve a disaster aid package for communities impacted by major disasters in 2017, 2018, and 2019 by a vote of 354-58. The bill has been signed by the President. While the bill had been delayed for months, it was most recently held up over the Memorial Day recess by Representatives Chip Roy (R-TX), Thomas Massie (R-KY) and John Rose (R-TN) who objected to the bill on three different occasions.
In a statement upon passage of the bill, NLIHC president and CEO Diane Yentel said, “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 provides $2.41 billion in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CBDG-DR) funds for areas impacted by recent disasters. The bill includes legislative language forcing HUD to release $16 billion in CDBG-DR mitigation funds approved by Congress 16 months ago; HUD is believed to have held up these resources because President Trump did not want additional funding to go to Puerto Rico.
In her statement, Diane urged HUD to disperse the funds immediately noting that, “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.”
Beyond CDBG-DR, the bill includes $304 million to help Puerto Rico meet FEMA match requirements, $349.4 million for state revolving loan funds to help rebuild damaged water systems, $605 million for the Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico (NAP) program, $25.2 million for nutrition assistance in the Northern Mariana Islands, and a provision allowing North Carolina to use CDBG-DR funds for Hurricanes Matthew and Florence interchangeably.
You can read the full bill at: https://bit.ly/2Wl1jio
Read Diane Yentel’s statement at: https://nlihc.org/news/statement-nlihc-president-ceo-diane-yentel-passing-disaster-aid-bill
A department-by-department overview can be found at: https://bit.ly/2HxVfut