NLIHC and DHRC Send Letter to Biden Administration on Stalled Disaster Housing Assistance Program

NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel sent a letter on behalf of NLIHC and the NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) to FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge, and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice voicing concern about the stalled effort to establish a new Disaster Assistance and Supportive Housing (DASH) program to support low-income disaster survivors. The letter urges FEMA and HUD to implement this critical emergency housing resource as quickly as possible to help those most impacted by disasters in 2022 fully and equitably recover.

DASH is based on the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP), which has been used by past Democratic and Republican administrations to provide the lowest-income and most marginalized disaster survivors with the longer-term housing assistance and case management services needed to help get back on their feet. Without this housing assistance, survivors are often forced to move into uninhabitable or overcrowded homes, stay at shelters, or sleep in their cars or on the streets. Because those most impacted are disproportionately Black and Indigenous people and other people of color, the failure to activate DASH may undermine the Biden administration’s efforts to advance racial equity.

The letter also objects to the idea of transferring the lowest-income disaster survivors to existing HUD housing assistance programs. “Although HUD’s existing programs serve as a model for DHAP and DASH, they are not a sufficient replacement for emergency housing assistance from FEMA,” writes Diane in the letter. “Simply referring disaster survivors to HUD programs means that survivors could be forced to wait years – and in some cases, decades – for assistance on extremely long waiting lists.”

Read the letter at: