Senators Blumenthal and Cassidy Call on FEMA to Prioritize Housing Assistance for Hurricane Victims

Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) sent a letter to FEMA Director Brock Long on October 18, urging him to take immediate action to ensure that all displaced survivors of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have a safe, accessible, and affordable place to call home as they recover from these disasters. The letter urges FEMA to enter into an interagency agreement with HUD to allow the housing agency to provide survivors with rental assistance while they get back on their feet.

The NLIHC-led Hurricane Housing Recovery Coalition strongly supports the Blumenthal-Cassidy letter and commends the senators for their leadership on this pressing issue. Nearly two months have passed since Hurricane Harvey made landfall, and FEMA has still not entered into an interagency agreement with HUD to stand up its Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP), which is necessary to ensure that the most vulnerable households have a stable, affordable place to call home as they recover.

Housing and legal aid organizations in Texas and Florida have reported that low income households face significant barriers to using FEMA’s transitional housing assistance. Many hotels participating in the program charge daily fees or require security deposits and credit cards - all of which are barriers for low income people who are often hardest hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover afterwards. As a result, many of the lowest income survivors have little choice but to return to their uninhabitable homes, stay in shelters, or sleep in their cars or on the street. DHAP would directly address this critical issue.

Read the Blumenthal-Cassidy letter at: