Writing on behalf of the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC), NLIHC submitted comments to FEMA in response to a request for feedback regarding a new guide being prepared by the agency, “Achieving Equitable Recovery: A Post-Disaster Guide for Local Officials.” The agency hopes the guide will help local officials incorporate diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in post-disaster recovery management work. The guide highlights the fact that disaster recovery programs must be collaborative in nature and ensure that historically marginalized communities are able to work together with local officials to address their disaster recovery needs.
The NLIHC-led DHRC is a coalition of nearly 900 national, state, and local organizations, including many working directly with disaster-impacted communities and with first-hand experience recovering after disasters. The DHRC works to ensure that federal disaster recovery efforts reach the lowest-income and most marginalized survivors.
Comments from the DHRC focused on ensuring meaningful participation by community-based organizations within disaster recovery efforts, addressing systemic barriers to disaster assistance both at the local and federal levels, and guaranteeing the expertise of housing and homelessness organizations is fully utilized during the disaster recovery process. While FEMA has elevated the importance of equity in the agency’s disaster response and recovery process – both internally and in external documents such as the guide – significant barriers to equity persist at the federal level.
“We are pleased to see that the integration of equity was named a primary goal in the agency’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan and that FEMA Administrator Criswell has continued to publicly raise the need to ensure FEMA and its stakeholders approach their roles in an equitable fashion,” reads the comment. “As FEMA continues to stress the importance of equity to its stakeholders, the agency must ensure its own program policies align with those same equity principles.”
Read the written comment and access a copy of the draft guide at: https://bit.ly/3Tm0ukk