Washington, D.C. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released today an Interim Final Rule amending regulations for its Individual Assistance (IA) program. The Interim Final Rule includes significant modifications to expand the amount of assistance available to disaster survivors and to address long-standing barriers that have prevented millions of disaster survivors from receiving the assistance they were owed.
“This change would not have been possible without the determined and decades-spanning advocacy conducted by the members and partners of the NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC),” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Low-income households and their communities receive far less assistance than they need to recover after a disaster and regularly experience significant barriers to accessing that assistance. NLIHC and the DHRC applaud FEMA for making these long-awaited reforms to remove barriers to assistance and expand the amount of repair and housing aid for those in need.”
The barriers to adequate assistance addressed in the new rule have affected millions of disaster-impacted households around the country. FEMA’s IA program application process and program rules typically favor higher-income applicants when determining the amount of assistance to provide. For decades, advocates in disaster-impacted areas have catalogued the consequences of these barriers, worked against them to serve their disaster-impacted communities, and pushed Congress and FEMA for their removal. The changes in policy announced in the new rule would not have been possible without these efforts. The new rule cites portions of comments submitted in the past by the DHRC and its members regarding needed reforms that were considered in making the changes.
NLIHC will continue to monitor implementation of the new policies and push for legislative reforms that codify the changes in statute, broaden their scope, and strengthen their application to help ensure all disaster survivors receive the assistance they need to fully recover.
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