Frelinghusyen Says Additional Assistance Will Be Required on Ongoing Disaster Relief Recovery Efforts
On October 12, 2017, the House approved by a vote of 353-69, a supplemental spending bill that would provide $36.5 billion in funding for hurricane and wildfire disaster relief and recovery. The entire NJ House delegation voted in favor.
The bill mirrors the administration’s request and includes:
- $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Disaster Relief Fund,
- $576.5 million for wildfire efforts, and
- $16 billion for debt relief for the National Flood Insurance Program.
The bill also includes a provision for the Disaster Nutrition Assistance Program (DNAP), allowing low income residents of Puerto Rico to receive additional food assistance. The Senate is expected to take up the bill this week.
The supplemental aid package includes a transfer of $4.9 million out of FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to their Disaster Assistance Direct Loan Program. This transfer would allow FEMA to provide loans to local governments in Puerto Rico for relief and recovery efforts.
The spending package does not include additional funding for the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) program requested by lawmakers who represent disaster-impacted areas.
House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ-11) said, however, that “the recovery in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Texas, and Florida will be ongoing, and more assistance will be required in the near future.”
The letter urges the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to ensure that CDBG Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) resources be targeted towards housing for the low-income people who have the greatest recovery needs.
This letter opposes recommendations sent by members of the Texas delegation to HUD Secretary Carson urging HUD to:
- Change regulations around the use of CDBG-DR funds, allowing scare resources to be diverted away from survivors with the greatest needs to go to households with less severe needs;
- Allow states to divert CDBG-DR funds away from housing needs, and thereby avoid addressing the full scope of the storms’ impact; and
- Reduce the public comment period required for the use of CDBG-DR funds, blocking survivors from engaging in the recovery process that will directly impact their families and communities.
Please join Monarch Housing Associates and sign your organization onto this letter. The letter calls for equitable disaster recovery and the continuation of current regulations around the use of CDBG-DR funds.
The deadline to sign is Thursday, October 19.