Governors, Senators Call for Urgent Action on Disaster Recovery

The governors of Texas, California, Florida and Puerto Rico called on Congress to pass an additional disaster supplemental bill as soon as possible, and Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) urged additional actions by FEMA and Puerto Rico to address the island’s housing recovery needs.  

Governors Greg Abbott (TX), Jerry Brown (CA), Ricardo Rosselló (PR), and Rick Scott (FL) wrote a letter on January 24 to congressional majority and minority leadership urging them to pass an additional disaster relief funding bill post-haste. The letter asserts that the “delay [of additional federal assistance] only exacerbates ongoing uncertainty in devastated areas.”

Senator Rubio sent a letter on January 25 to Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló advising him to request participation in FEMA’s Direct Lease program. FEMA uses the Direct Lease program to provide temporary housing by encouraging landlords to participate in the program, then paying for rent and utilities. The program requires a formal request from the governor to be implemented. Senator Rubio’s letter states that Florida’s “state and local governments are ready and willing to assist” but need additional federal resources to help displaced Puerto Rican families.

Senators Rubio and Nelson sent a letter on January 26 to FEMA Administrator Brock Long calling on him to coordinate with HUD to implement affordable, long-term housing solutions for Floridians and Puerto Ricans displaced by last year’s hurricanes. “HUD provides a variety of disaster-related resources and has significant experience with addressing post-disaster housing issues,” the senators stated. “Stable, long-term housing is essential for families to regain normalcy. In recognizing this, we urge you to coordinate with HUD and employ their expertise in addressing long-term housing solutions.”