This week, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) joined a bipartisan group of senators to present legislation aimed at assisting towns in their recovery following significant catastrophes. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) disaster recovery program for states, local governments, and tribes will be strengthened by the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act.
"Too many North Carolinians are still waiting for assistance after losing their homes because of Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, and it's clear that reforms at the federal level and stronger leadership at the state level are needed to cut through the red tape and stop the delays," said Senator Tillis. "I'm proud to support this bipartisan proposal to speed up the grant process so that families and small businesses in need can receive long-term federal assistance sooner."
The measure addresses long-standing recommendations from the Government Accountability Office and Office of Inspector General for HUD to create a stable and predictable financing method. The bill expedites aid to areas affected by disasters through:
· Establishing a fund for disaster recovery to enable HUD to provide predictable aid to localities;
· Enabling HUD to publish regulations that will formalize program requirements and cut down on the needless red tape, delays, and unpredictable nature of the current procedure;
· Supporting resilience as a component of disaster recovery rather as something separate from it;
· Approving "quick release" money to assist grantee capability immediately following an event;
· Reducing needless administrative hassles and interagency requirement conflicts; Improving government coordination by creating a disaster recovery and resilience office at HUD.
More than 40 organizations, including BPC Action, the Council of State Community Development Agencies, Enterprise Community Partners, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the National Community Development Association, and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, support the reforming of the disaster recovery act.
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