Rep. Val Demings (FL-10) introduced a letter to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell in support of the Disaster Housing Assistance Program. Demings was joined on the letter by Reps. Lawson, Wasserman Shultz, Soto, Murphy, Castor, and Crist, are all also representing Florida.
“Here in the greatest country on earth, we must ensure that Floridian families do not go homeless following a hurricane or other disaster," Demings said. "This important program serves families with children, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and others to ensure that they can find stable post-disaster housing, pay rent, and get back on their feet by finding employment and restoring their own independence. Though this program was unfortunately politicized in the past in an effort to deny support to victims from Hurricane Maria, I am glad to see that it is back up and running, and look forward to additional information from FEMA and HUD as we work to ensure that every Floridian can land on their feet after a disaster.”
The Disaster Housing Assistance Program, which has had historic support by both Democrats and Republicans, was formed after a 2006 analysis by the George W. Bush administration determined that HUD should be the lead agency for housing following disasters.
The program helps to provide rental assistance to ensure stable housing for families with children, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and others who face barriers to other shelter assistance programs.
As part of the program, recipients are transitioned into full self-sufficiency, including with all families receiving DHAP rental assistance provided wrap-around case management services to help them find permanent housing solutions, secure employment, and connect to any other relevant services.
Without this program, displaced families are forced to live in their cars, become homeless, or set up tent cities and other dangerous living situations.
This is a proven and successful program that has assisted thousands of Floridians and other Americans following natural disasters.
Last year, Demings introduced legislation to protect Americans from loss of housing during disasters, applying an automatic eviction moratorium to all rental properties and foreclosure moratorium to all federally backed mortgages for locations under a federal declaration of an emergency.
This bill was praised by the National Housing Law Project, which wrote:
“This legislation provides a meaningful opportunity to protect renters from displacement at one of the most challenging times in their lives - in the aftermath of a natural disaster. We applaud Congresswoman Demings’ efforts to provide these protections.”
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