FEMA Administrator Brock Long testified at an April 11 Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing, “FEMA: Prioritizing a Culture of Preparedness.” Mr. Long pledged to reduce the complexity of FEMA’s processes to improve emergency management in the future. He emphasized the importance of FEMA partnerships with state and local governments to identify appropriate sheltering and housing solutions, citing Texas as a model. Mr. Long posed the question, “How do we become a granting agency to push the funds out to governors for emergency assistance?”
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) asked about the challenges posed by “informal” housing in Puerto Rico in which residents do not possess formal titles to their properties or leases for rental units. Mr. Brock acknowledged this issue as an example of how the previous way of doing business is not responsive to jurisdictional differences. “States have a much better familiarity with the needs of their residents, the local laws and ordinances that can impact some of the FEMA housing options,” he said. Senator James Lankford (R-OK) requested a copy of a pending evaluation report from 2017 so that lawmakers can propose legislative changes to address issues inhibiting FEMA from doing its work effectively.