NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel will testify at a House Transportation and Infrastructure hearing on equitable disaster recovery this week. The hearing, held by the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee, will focus on “Experiences of Vulnerable Populations During Disaster” and is scheduled for 10 am ET on July 28. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has oversight authority over FEMA and its operations and has worked recently to bolster the agency’s staffing and Public Assistance programs to assist state and local governments in responding to COVID-19 and concurrent disasters. The hearing will focus on how historically marginalized populations – specifically low-income households, communities of color, and individuals living with disabilities – are affected by disasters and what can be done to ensure the nation’s response to disasters are equitable. These populations are typically hardest hit by disasters but receive the least amount of aid to recover afterwards.
NLIHC advocates for equitable disaster recovery through its Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC), a group of over 850 national, state, and local organizations. The DHRC continues to advocate for pivotal disaster recovery reform legislation such as the “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act” which permanently authorizes and reforms HUD’s primary disaster recovery grant program, as well as the “Housing Survivors of Major Disasters Act,” which helps ensure that all disaster survivors are able to access FEMA assistance. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DHRC hosts recurring national calls regarding coronavirus, housing, and homelessness.
On the day of the hearing, NLIHC will release a report, “Fixing America’s Broken Disaster Housing Recovery System Part Two: Policy Framework Reform Recommendations.” Part 1 of the series identified how America’s disaster housing recovery framework exacerbates and reinforces racial, income, and accessibility inequities at each stage of response and recovery. Part 2 of the report will identify specific local, state, and national policy recommendations to redesign our national disaster housing response and recovery system to center the needs of the lowest-income survivors and their communities. Both reports were written by NLIHC and the Fair Share Housing Center of New Jersey with critical input from DHRC members, including many with first-hand experience recovering after disasters.
You can watch the July 28 Transportation and Infrastructure hearing at: https://bit.ly/3hzpalq
Read Diane Yentel’s testimony at: https://tinyurl.com/y6gs4sq4
Read Part 1 of “Fixing America’s Broken Disaster Housing Recovery System” at: https://bit.ly/301ALDX