Representatives Espaillat and González Introduce Bill to Provide Housing for Disaster Survivors

Representatives Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) and Jenniffer González-Colón (R-PR) introduced on April 11 the “Housing Victims of Major Disaster Act” (H.R. 5474). This bill would require FEMA and HUD to immediately stand up the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) to provide low income displaced families with safe, decent, and affordable rental homes while they rebuild their lives and get back on their feet. DHAP was created after the hard-won lessons from Hurricane Katrina and has been used following other disasters, including Hurricane Rita and Superstorm Sandy, but despite the program’s past success, FEMA has not allowed DHAP to be implemented for victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

The bill also includes provisions expanding the documentation options FEMA will consider when approving housing assistance. This critical change is needed to help survivors in Puerto Rico and Texas who lack formal titles to their homes and have been denied FEMA assistance.

“This legislation would ensure that all survivors of the recent hurricanes and wildfires – including those with the lowest incomes – have the resources they need to keep stable roofs over their heads while they rebuild their lives,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition of more than 700 local, state, and national organizations commends Congressman Espaillat and Congresswoman González Colón for their leadership in putting forward critically needed, long-term housing solutions so that in the future, no family recovering from a disaster has to make the impossible choice between paying rent and meeting their other basic needs as they get back on their feet.” 

Read Representative Espaillat’s statement about the bill at: