Big questions as the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season ramps up. The National Hurricane Center reported four tropical storms already, and while none made it to hurricane status, they're saying it's going to be a busy season. That means the possibility of disaster and disaster recovery. It's why South Carolina, Rep. Mark Sanford is taking action now.
On July 13, Congressman Sanford introduced H.R. 3238, the Disaster Assistance Equity Act, a bipartisan bill that would make common interest communities, like condo complexes and neighborhoods governed by an HOA, eligible for the same FEMA assistance available to other homeowners. The bill is co-sponsored by Representatives Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY).
Currently, existing FEMA policy excludes community association roads from receiving federal assistance for debris cleanup. This bill would make two changes to the Stafford Act:
1. Make homeowners associations eligible for the Public Assistance Program for debris clearance and repair of common infrastructure; and
2. Enable condominium associations and housing cooperatives to be eligible for the Individual Assistance Program.
"I find it strange that FEMA treats the 70 million Americans who live in common interest communities differently than it does those who live in other types of communities," said Congressman Sanford. "In my experience, storms don't discriminate between different kinds of communities. As such, it seems to me that FEMA should treat them all equally when it comes to the assistance available in the wake of a disaster."
This would obviously be a boon for neighborhoods should they face Mother Nature's wrath this season. In the meantime, it's important to help your community members prep. Don't forget, you'll likely have newbie residents who moved to Florida from Ohio and haven't lived through a hurricane.
Does your community currently have an incident response plan in place? If not, download our free Incident Response Guide!