Disaster Assistance Equity Act
DISASTER ASSISTANCE EQUITY ACT OF 2017
REP. MARK SANFORD
- The Stafford Act empowers the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide federal assistance to individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.
- There are two primary forms of federal disaster assistance:
- The Public Assistance (PA) Program is focused on enabling communities to recover through helping municipal governments clear debris and repair damaged infrastructure.
- The Individual Assistance (IA) Program focuses on providing assistance to individuals and households including home repair and providing temporary housing and other essential consumer goods.
- Over 70 million Americans live in homeowners associations, housing cooperatives, and condominium associations that provide common services in lieu of a municipal government such as roads and wastewater systems.
- Natural disasters often impose crippling costs on homeowners associations, housing cooperatives, and condominium associations, and especially have an adverse impact in areas that have been affected by frequent natural disasters.
- Despite that municipal governments and public buildings can receive federal assistance to recover after a natural disaster; homeowners associations, condominiums, and housing cooperatives are often unable to receive assistance unless they go through a time-consuming process to try to receive a waiver from FEMA.
- This is unfair considering that these community associations provide services similar to that of a government to their residents and residents pay taxes to the federal government.
- The Disaster Assistance Equity Act would close this gap by making two changes to the Safford Act.
- Make homeowners associations eligible for Public Assistance for debris clearance and repair of common infrastructure.
- Enable condominium associations and housing cooperatives to be eligible for Individual Assistance.