Rep. Culberson Introduces Disaster Assistance Bill for Harvey Survivors
Disaster Assistance Rental Fairness Act to Resolve Rental Aid Crisis
Washington D.C. - Today Representative John Culberson (TX-07) introduced H.R. 4930, the Disaster Assistance Rental Fairness Act, to ensure that FEMA follows the intent of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Assistance Act to provide efficient federal natural disaster assistance.
Under current law, FEMA is required to provide disaster relief to families affected by natural disasters. However, FEMA is denying rental assistance to individuals whose post-disaster housing costs are 30 percent or less of their household income. Culberson said the following:
“FEMA is refusing to provide disaster relief to many middle-class families that they consider too wealthy to qualify. The intent of the Stafford Act is to provide assistance to everyone who was affected by the disaster regardless of income. I filed this bill to compel FEMA to follow current law to provide aid to everyone who was flooded by Harvey and who needs continued rental assistance.
"I am committed to helping all Harvey survivors, and I find it unacceptable that so many in my district are being denied badly-needed FEMA assistance. FEMA has explicitly stated that Individual Assistance awards are not income based; yet they are excluding many of my constituents who are paying both a mortgage on a flooded house and rent on a temporary apartment. I will do all I can to see that FEMA’s 30 percent policy for continued rental assistance is changed.
“When I spearheaded passage of the $81 billion Hurricane Harvey relief bill in the House, I thought about all my neighbors who were devastated by Harvey, especially those who are still living on the second floor of their flood-ravaged homes. I won approval of language to help property owners who were flooded when the Corps opened the gates on Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, and fully funded all federally authorized flood control projects in Harris County and in all other Texas disaster area counties.
"I urge swift consideration of H.R. 4930 to ensure this problem is fixed as soon as possible, so that victims of Hurricane Harvey can get the assistance they need and deserve. My constituents cannot afford to wait another day.”