[House Report 116-574]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]


116th Congress }                                          { Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
  2d Session   }                                          { 116-574

======================================================================
 
           HOUSING SURVIVORS OF MAJOR DISASTERS ACT OF 2020

                                _______
                                

 November 16, 2020.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

         Mr. DeFazio, from the Committee on Transportation and 
                Infrastructure, submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 2914]

    The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom 
was referred the bill (H.R. 2914) to make available necessary 
disaster assistance for families affected by major disasters, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon with an amendment and recommends that the 
bill as amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose of Legislation...........................................     4
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     4
Hearings.........................................................     5
Legislative History and Consideration............................     6
Committee Votes..................................................     7
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     7
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     7
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     8
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     8
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................     9
Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, and Limited Tariff 
  Benefits.......................................................     9
Federal Mandates Statement.......................................     9
Preemption Clarification.........................................     9
Advisory Committee Statement.....................................     9
Applicability to Legislative Branch..............................     9
Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation...................     9
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............    10
Supplemental, Minority, Additional, or Dissenting Views..........    19

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Housing Survivors of Major Disasters 
Act of 2020''.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) FEMA.--The term ``FEMA'' means the Federal Emergency 
        Management Agency.
          (2) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means the 
        Administrator of FEMA.

SEC. 3. ELIGIBILITY FOR AND USE OF DISASTER ASSISTANCE.

  (a) Financial Assistance.--Notwithstanding any other provision of 
law, individuals and households described in subsection (c) may be 
eligible for assistance made available under section 408 of the Robert 
T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 
5174) in connection with a major disaster declared by the President 
under section 401 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 5170), including Hurricane 
Maria of 2017.
  (b) Use of Funds.--Any assistance provided pursuant to subsection (a) 
may include costs relating to obtaining title for a property described 
in subsection (c)(1), including the cost of land surveys and any other 
taxes or fees associated with obtaining the title for such property.
  (c) Eligible Individuals or Households.--With respect to a major 
disaster declared by the President under section 401 of the Robert T. 
Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5170), 
an individual or household described in this subsection is an 
individual or household who--
          (1) is residing on a property located in the area for which 
        the major disaster was declared but does not have documented 
        ownership rights to such property and is not renting such 
        property; or
          (2) is or was residing in an area for which a major disaster 
        has been declared by the President under section 401 of the 
        Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act 
        (42 U.S.C. 5170), during the designated incident period, 
        including residing in any housing accommodation or property 
        upon which a housing accommodation is located, including any 
        living quarters, boardinghouse, bunkhouse, manufactured home, 
        mobile home, or travel trailer.
  (d) Evidence.--
          (1) Consideration.--In making a determination to provide 
        assistance pursuant to this Act, the Administrator shall 
        consider a wide range of evidence.
          (2) Alternative forms of evidence.--In determining if an 
        individual or household is eligible for assistance pursuant to 
        this Act, the Administrator shall accept either a declarative 
        statement or the presentation of at least one item of 
        alternative evidence, including the following:
                  (A) A utility (including gas, electric, sewer, or 
                water) bill with the name and address of the 
                individual.
                  (B) A merchant's statement (including a credit card, 
                delivery notice, or first class mail) with the name and 
                address of the individual.
                  (C) A pay stub from an employer with the name and 
                address of the individual.
                  (D) A current driver's license or State-issued 
                identification card of the individual.
                  (E) The deed or title for the applicable property.
                  (F) A mortgage payment booklet or another mortgage 
                document.
                  (G) Property title of mobile home certificate of 
                title.
                  (H) A real estate property tax receipt.
                  (I) A school registration containing the address of 
                self, child, or children.
                  (J) A will and testament with the name and address of 
                the individual.
                  (K) In a State that does not require a will and 
                testament for the transfer of immovable property, a 
                death certificate and birth certificate that 
                establishes an automatic transfer of legal ownership.
                  (L) Medical records that list the name and address of 
                the individual.
                  (M) A charitable donation receipt that list the name 
                and address of the individual.
                  (N) Any other documentation, certification, 
                identification, or proof of occupancy or ownership not 
                included on this list that can reasonably link the 
                individual requesting assistance to the applicable 
                property.

SEC. 4. DECLARATIVE STATEMENT.

  (a) Development of Declarative Statement.--
          (1) In general.--Not later than 30 days after the date of 
        enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall create, in 
        coordination with the appropriate authorities of the applicable 
        jurisdiction, and distribute, where necessary, a declarative 
        statement form that an applicant for assistance provided 
        pursuant to section 3 may use to self-certify such applicant's 
        eligibility for assistance pursuant to this Act.
          (2) Prohibition of notarization.--The Administrator may not 
        require the declarative statement form created under paragraph 
        (1) to require notarization by the applicant.
  (b) Exemptions.--A declarative statement form created under 
subsection (a)(1) is exempt from publication notice, public comment 
periods, and agency information collection review and approval by the 
Office of Management and Budget required by the Paperwork Reduction Act 
(44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).
  (c) Guidance.--Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of 
this Act, the Administrator shall provide written notification and 
guidance to employees of FEMA regarding the requirements of this Act.
  (d) Publication.--Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment 
of this Act, the Administrator shall--
          (1) make the declarative statement form created under 
        subsection (a)(1) available in Spanish and English at all 
        active Disaster Recovery Centers; and
          (2) publish in English, Spanish, and any other locally 
        predominant languages on the website of FEMA and on social 
        media the declarative statement form and instructions on how 
        applicants can reopen or seek further appeal of relevant 
        determinations.
  (e) Past Disasters.--For applicants of assistance provided pursuant 
to section 3 since January 1, 2017, the Administrator shall provide an 
applicant not fewer than 180 days to submit the declarative statement 
form to reopen or appeal a case after such applicant has received 
notice of the right to do so.

SEC. 5. REPAIR AND REBUILDING.

  Section 408(c) of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and 
Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5174) is amended--
          (1) in paragraph (2)(A)(i) by striking ``to a safe and 
        sanitary living or functioning condition'' and inserting ``to 
        ensure that such residences are habitable during longer term 
        recovery (including through coordination with other sources for 
        repair and rebuilding of such residences)''; and
          (2) in paragraph (4) by striking ``in cases in which'' and 
        all that follows through the end and inserting ``if the 
        President determines such assistance is a cost effective 
        alternative to other housing solutions, including the costs 
        associated with temporary housing provided under this 
        section.''.

SEC. 6. POST-DISASTER HOUSING ASSISTANCE ANALYSIS AND REPORT.

  (a) Analysis.--The Administrator, in coordination with the Secretary 
of Housing and Urban Development, shall conduct an analysis comparing 
the costs, benefits, and effectiveness of assistance provided under the 
Disaster Housing Assistance Program, including any case management 
services provided, with other temporary housing options provided by the 
Administrator under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and 
Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.).
  (b) Provision of Data.--The Secretary shall ensure that public 
housing authorities engaged in carrying out the Disaster Housing 
Assistance Program relay data concerning the extent and effectiveness 
of case management services in transitioning individuals and households 
toward self-sufficiency under the Program compared to other alternative 
disaster assistance programs available under the Robert T. Stafford 
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.).
  (c) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of 
this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the Committee on 
Transportation and Infrastructure of the House of Representatives and 
the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the 
Senate a report that contains the analysis required under subsection 
(a) and an analysis of the oversight mechanisms, program integrity 
checks, and financial management measures utilized in carrying out the 
Program compared to alternative disaster housing assistance programs 
under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance 
Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.).

                         Purpose of Legislation

    The purpose of H.R. 2914, as amended, is to make available 
necessary disaster assistance for families affected by major 
disasters; to develop a fulsome report analyzing costs, 
benefits, and effectiveness of various post-disaster housing 
programs; and for other purposes.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

    In the three years since Hurricanes Maria and Irma made 
landfall in Puerto Rico, many disaster survivors are still 
struggling to obtain livable housing.\1\ The devastating impact 
of natural disasters such as 2018's Hurricane Florence, 2016's 
Louisiana flooding, the 2019 flooding of the Missouri River 
Basin, and several wildfire seasons in California have resulted 
in similar housing challenges and additional hardship for 
thousands of American households.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\See Coto, Danica. ``Thousands in Puerto Rico still without 
housing since Maria''. AP News. July 24, 2020. Available at https://
apnews.com/article/ap-top-news-puerto-rico-latin-america-
caribbean-hurricanes-a2cf35e2f8893592ec4b59d90baae1ac; U.S. Dept. of 
Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. Audit 2020-
AT-1020. March 16, 2020. Available at https://www.hudoig.gov/reports-
publications/report/puerto-rico-department-housing-san-juan-pr-should-
strengthen-its.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the wake of Hurricane Maria, many of the survivors had 
their housing assistance applications denied by the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) because of documentation 
requirements the Agency requires to prove ownership of a 
damaged property.\2\ Survivors of California wildfires and 
Texas hurricanes have encountered similar issues.\3\ FEMA's 
narrow list of acceptable documents does not necessarily 
comport with the conditions many applicants find themselves in 
following catastrophic natural disasters. At this time, 
acceptable documents are those from the Social Security 
Administration, or other Federal entity, containing the full or 
last four digits of a disaster survivor's Social Security 
Number (SSN); a Social Security card if sent with Federal or 
State-issued identification; an employer's payroll document 
containing the full or last four digits of a survivor's SSN; a 
military identification; a marriage license to confirm proof of 
maiden name; or a U.S. passport.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \2\Acevedo, Nicole. ``FEMA has either denied or not approved most 
appeals for housing aid in Puerto Rico''. NBC News. July 17, 2018. 
Available at https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/puerto-rico-crisis/fema-
has-either-denied-or-not-approved-most-appeals-housing-n891716.
    \3\See Khimm, Suzy and Kalhan Rosenblatt. ```Where's everybody 
going to go?' Survivors of California's Camp Fire struggle to find 
housing''. NBC News. November 21, 2018. Available at https://
www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/where-s-everybody-going-go-survivors-
california-s-camp-fire-n938991; Snyder, Mike. ``Disaster victim 
activists concerned about FEMA's fairness, transparency''. Houston 
Chronicle. January, 26, 2018. Available at https://
www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/FEMA-
grants-Harvey-victims-fairness-equity-12526374.php.
    \4\FEMA. ``I Applied for Assistance. What's Next?'' Available at 
https://www.fema.gov/
assistance/individual/after-applying.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Following a disaster, families and individuals may find 
their possessions, including needed documentation, destroyed or 
missing. And, in some cases, associated records maintained by 
State or local governments may also be unavailable. As a 
result, FEMA assistance may be denied and not available. For 
example, in Puerto Rico, this resulted in families waiting 
months to receive housing assistance simply due to bureaucratic 
hurdles and rigid documentation requirements that proved 
unrealistic in the wake of the major disaster.\5\ H.R. 2914, as 
amended, addresses this issue by ensuring FEMA develops 
alternative methods to assess eligibility.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\See Coto, Danica. ``6 months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico 
pleads for help''. AP News. March 16, 2018. Available at https://
apnews.com/article/aacab7041b4748408bd3911ad476d140; Oxfam. ``In Puerto 
Rico, a legal aid program delivers results''. Available at https://
www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/research-publications/in-puerto-rico-a-
legal-aid-program-delivers-results/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    H.R. 2914, as amended, would begin to address these issues 
by allowing for survivors to re-apply for assistance and 
clarifies to FEMA the types of documentation that should be 
considered for eligibility. Additionally, it authorizes 
assistance to help disaster survivors in gathering requisite 
documents.
    The Committee has also noted the implementation of 
unnecessary temporary repair and rebuilding solutions, though a 
permanent solution may be more affordable or is able to be 
implemented before or shortly after a temporary one. It is the 
sense of the Committee that agencies should implement the most 
cost-effective repair and rebuilding solutions, regardless of 
if that solution is considered to be a long-term solution, and 
that additional flexibility is needed to integrate FEMA 
programs with long-term recovery programs offered by other 
Federal partners such as the Department of Housing of Urban 
Development.
    Several Committee Members and staff have visited the 
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to meet with local and Federal 
officials and review the status of recovery from Hurricanes 
Irma and Maria since the storms struck in 2017. Additionally, 
staff have regularly met with Federal and Commonwealth 
officials in Washington, D.C. to discuss the ongoing recovery. 
Limitations in Federal disaster recovery program authorities 
identified by officials tasked with recovery and non-
governmental organizations assisting disaster survivors in the 
wake of the hurricanes have resulted in this legislative effort 
to further expand eligibility for applicants of post-disaster 
housing assistance, as well as additional options for proving 
their pre-disaster housing residency.

                                Hearings

    For the purposes of section 103(i) of H. Res. 6 of the 
116th Congress--
    (1) The following hearing was used to develop or consider 
H.R. 2914:
    On October 22, 2019, the Subcommittee on Economic 
Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management held a 
hearing titled ``An Assessment of Federal Recovery Efforts from 
Recent Disasters.'' Witnesses included: Mr. Jeffrey Byard, 
Associate Administrator for Response and Recovery, Federal 
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Department of Homeland 
Security; Mr. Dennis Alvord, Deputy Assistant Secretary for 
Economic Development & Chief Operating Officer, Economic 
Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce; Mr. 
Chris P. Currie, Director, Homeland Security and Justice, U.S. 
Government Accountability Office; Mr. Michael Sprayberry, 
Director, North Carolina Emergency Management & North Carolina 
Office of Recovery and Resiliency, On behalf of the National 
Emergency Management Association; The Honorable Fernando Gil-
Ensenat, Secretary, Departamento de la Vivienda (Department of 
Housing), Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; Ms. Rhonda Wiley, 
Emergency Management/911 Director and Floodplain Manager, 
Atchison County, Missouri; Mr. Reese C. May, Chief Strategy and 
Innovation Officer, SBP. Additionally, written testimony was 
submitted by the Office of Community Planning and Development, 
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Topics 
discussed included the progress of several ongoing disaster 
recoveries; challenges at the state and local level in 
administering Federal disaster recovery programs administered 
by multiple Executive Branch departments; areas for greater 
cooperation and coordination by Executive Branch agencies 
involved in disaster recovery; experiences of state, local, 
tribal, and territorial governments in the wake of enactment of 
the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018; and the status of 
Federal disaster recovery assistance funding appropriated in 
the wake of major disaster declarations granted by the 
President from 2017-2019.
    (2) The following related hearings were held:
    On May 22, 2019, the Subcommittee on Economic Development, 
Public Buildings, and Emergency Management held a hearing 
titled ``Disaster Preparedness: DRRA Implementation and FEMA 
Readiness.'' Witnesses included: Dr. Daniel Kaniewski, Deputy 
Administrator for Resilience, FEMA; Ms. Sima Merick, Executive 
Director, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, testifying on 
behalf of the National Emergency Management Association; Mr. 
Nick Crossley, Director, Hamilton County Ohio Emergency 
Management and Homeland Security Agency, testifying on behalf 
of the International Association of Emergency Managers; Mr. 
James Gore, Supervisor, County of Sonoma, California, 
testifying on behalf of the Nation Association of Counties; Mr. 
Al Davis, Deputy Director, Texas A&M Engineering Extension 
Service, testifying on behalf of the National Domestic 
Preparedness Consortium; and Mr. Randy Noel, President, Reve, 
Inc., testifying on behalf of the National Association of Home 
Builders. Topics discussed included the state of federal 
disaster preparedness programs since the enactment of the 
Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018, the status of federal 
disaster recovery assistance funding appropriated in the wake 
of major disaster declarations granted by the President from 
2017-2019, and the increasing frequency of extreme weather-
related hazards.

                 Legislative History and Consideration

    H.R. 2914 was introduced in the House on May 22, 2019, by 
Representative Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) and Resident 
Commissioner Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR) and referred to the 
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Within the 
Committee, H.R. 2914 was referred to the Subcommittee on 
Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency 
Management.
    On February 26, 2020, the Chair discharged the Subcommittee 
on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency 
Management from further consideration of H.R. 2914.
    The Committee met in open session to consider H.R. 2914 on 
February 26, 2020, and ordered the measure to be reported to 
the House with a favorable recommendation, as amended, by voice 
vote, a quorum being present.
    The following amendments were offered:
    An Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute offered by Mr. 
Espaillat of New York (#1); was AGREED TO, as amended, by voice 
vote.
    An en bloc amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a 
Substitute offered by Mr. Graves of Louisiana (#1A) consisting 
of the following;
          Page 4, insert after line 9 the following: (K) In a 
        State that does not require a will and testament for 
        transfer of immovable property, a death certificate and 
        birth certificate that establishes an automatic 
        transfer of legal ownership.
          Page 6 after line 10 insert a new section entitled 
        ``Sec. 5. Repair and Rebuilding.''; was AGREED TO by 
        voice vote.
    An amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute 
offered by Mr. Graves of Louisiana (#1B); Page 1, line 14, 
strike ``subsection (c)'' and insert ``subsection (b)''.
          Page 2, strike lines 3 through 7 (and redesignate 
        accordingly).; was WITHDRAWN by unanimous consent.
    An amendment to the Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute 
offered by Mr. Graves of Louisiana (#1C); Page 2, line 17, 
insert ``, applying on behalf of the primary residence of such 
individual or household,'' after ``such property''.; was 
WITHDRAWN by unanimous consent.

                            Committee Votes

    Clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires each committee report to include the 
total number of votes cast for and against on each record vote 
on a motion to report and on any amendment offered to the 
measure or matter, and the names of those members voting for 
and against.
    No recorded votes were taken in connection with during 
consideration of H.R. 2914.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(1) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are 
reflected in this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause (3)(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has requested 
but not received a cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of Congressional Budget Office. The Committee has 
requested but not received from the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office a statement as to whether this bill 
contains any new budget authority, spending authority, credit 
authority, or an increase or decrease in revenues or tax 
expenditures. The Chairman of the Committee shall cause such 
estimate and statement to be printed in the Congressional 
Record upon its receipt by the Committee.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, a cost 
estimate provided by the Congressional Budget Office pursuant 
to section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 was not 
made available to the Committee in time for the filing of this 
report. The Chairman of the Committee shall cause such estimate 
to be printed in the Congressional Record upon its receipt by 
the Committee.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    With respect to the requirement of clause 3(c)(4) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
performance goal and objective of this legislation is to 
provide expanded eligibility to obtain housing assistance from 
FEMA for survivors of major disasters and to lessen the 
documentation burden placed upon said survivors in the wake of 
disasters by allowing for a more uniform self-certification 
process.
    The Committee expects that the required report in Section 6 
will include a comprehensive assessment of post-disaster 
housing programs administered by FEMA and/or the Department of 
Housing and Urban Development during the previous decade, to 
include the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP), 
Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA), FEMA-provided rental 
assistance, instances of State-administered housing assistance, 
multi-family lease and repair, recreational vehicles (RV), 
manufactured housing units (MHU), and direct lease.
    The report should not only focus on costs, but also analyze 
outcomes based on geography, income, age, disability, race, 
household size, and other tenant characteristics, and all 
classes of individuals protected under the Robert T. Stafford 
Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5121 et 
seq.), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 
12101 et seq.), the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.), 
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Public Law 88-352; 78 Stat. 241), 
and other civil rights and nondiscrimination protections. 
Short-term outcomes shall be measured at the close of the 18-
month maximum period of assistance post-disaster, and long-term 
outcomes shall be the date two years following the close of any 
FEMA assistance. Section 5.15 of the DHAP Sandy Interagency 
Agreement between FEMA and HUD (DHAP Sandy IAA, IAA Number 
HSFE-80-13-X-0043) shall be used in this analysis, and the 
Committee believes similar data from other events would also 
help inform the analysis.
    This comprehensive study shall also assess rates of housing 
stability, risk of eviction, rates of cost burdens, likelihood 
of homelessness, and likelihood of accessing permanent housing 
solutions in the months and years following disaster; barriers 
to using each option and examining the ease of survivors in 
accessing resources, the ease of application for--and appealing 
of--adverse decisions, any financial barriers faced by low-
income and other marginalized survivors, and any other barriers 
faced by survivors; and place an emphasis on what types of 
assistance are provided, particularly investigating the amount 
of assistance and use of fair market rents, program delivery 
and capacity (i.e. public housing agencies v. FEMA v. state/
local/tribal/territorial governments), the length of assistance 
and use of deadlines, the responsibility for record keeping, 
expertise in housing and homelessness, expertise in working 
with marginalized and extremely low-income people, and the 
ability to recruit landlords when applicable.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(5) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds that no provision 
of H.R. 2914, as amended, establishes or reauthorizes a program 
of the federal government known to be duplicative of another 
federal program, a program that was included in any report from 
the Government Accountability Office to Congress pursuant to 
section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program related to a 
program identified in the most recent Catalog of Federal 
Domestic Assistance.

             Congressional Earmarks, Limited Tax Benefits, 
                      and Limited Tariff Benefits

    In compliance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, this bill, as reported, contains no 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of the rule 
XXI.

                       Federal Mandates Statement

    An estimate of federal mandates prepared by the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 423 of the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act was not made available to the 
Committee in time for the filing of this report. The Chairman 
of the Committee shall cause such estimate to be printed in the 
Congressional Record upon its receipt by the Committee.

                        Preemption Clarification

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 
requires the report of any Committee on a bill or joint 
resolution to include a statement on the extent to which the 
bill or joint resolution is intended to preempt state, local, 
or tribal law. The Committee finds that H.R. 2914, as amended, 
does not preempt any state, local, or tribal law.

                      Advisory Committee Statement

    No advisory committees within the meaning of section 5(b) 
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act were created by this 
legislation.

                  Applicability to Legislative Branch

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not relate to 
the terms and conditions of employment or access to public 
services or accommodations within the meaning of section 
102(b)(3) of the Congressional Accountability Act (Public Law 
104-1).

             Section-by-Section Analysis of the Legislation


Sec. 1. Short title

    This section provides that this bill may be cited as the 
``Housing Survivors of Major Disasters Act of 2019''.

Sec. 2. Definitions

    This section defines the terms used in this act including: 
``FEMA'' and ``Administrator''.

Sec. 3. Eligibility for and use of disaster assistance

    This section describes eligible individuals and households 
for assistance authorized by this section. Additional 
assistance may be provided for various services to establish or 
identify title of a property where said eligible individual or 
household resided at the time of the major disaster. Further, 
this section clarifies eligible forms of documentation to 
connect said eligible survivors with said property, including 
signing a declarative statement attesting to residency at the 
time of disaster.

Sec. 4. Declarative statement

    This section requires the FEMA Administrator to develop 
within 30 days of enactment a declarative statement that 
disaster survivors may sign to affirm eligibility for Federal 
disaster assistance from FEMA. Further, it prohibits the Agency 
from requiring notarization of the declarative statement in 
order for an applicant to qualify for assistance. Additionally, 
any applicants for assistance pursuant to Section 408(c) of the 
Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act 
(P.L. 93-288) since January 1, 2017, must be notified of their 
right to sign a declarative statement within 180 days to seek 
to have their case reopened or appealed.

Sec. 5. Repair and rebuilding

    This section amends Section 408(c) of the Robert T. 
Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 93-
288) to allow for the President to provide assistance for 
enhanced repairs to disaster-impacted residences to allow for 
longer-term habitability, better aligning the goals and costs 
of short-term and long-term recovery programs.

Sec. 6. Post-disaster housing assistance analysis and report

    This section requires the FEMA Administrator and Secretary 
of Housing and Urban Development to perform a comparative 
analysis of post-disaster housing programs and report on 
findings surrounding costs, benefits, and effectiveness of 
assistance to the Congress within 180 days.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italics, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

    ROBERT T. STAFFORD DISASTER RELIEF AND EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE ACT




           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
TITLE IV--MAJOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 408. FEDERAL ASSISTANCE TO INDIVIDUALS AND HOUSEHOLDS.

  (a) In General.--
          (1) Provision of assistance.--In accordance with this 
        section, the President, in consultation with the 
        Governor of a State, may provide financial assistance, 
        and, if necessary, direct services, to individuals and 
        households in the State who, as a direct result of a 
        major disaster, have necessary expenses and serious 
        needs in cases in which the individuals and households 
        are unable to meet such expenses or needs through other 
        means.
          (2) Relationship to other assistance.--Under 
        paragraph (1), an individual or household shall not be 
        denied assistance under paragraph (1), (3), or (4) of 
        subsection (c) solely on the basis that the individual 
        or household has not applied for or received any loan 
        or other financial assistance from the Small Business 
        Administration or any other Federal agency.
  (b) Housing Assistance.--
          (1) Eligibility.--The President may provide financial 
        or other assistance under this section to individuals 
        and households to respond to the disaster-related 
        housing needs of individuals and households who are 
        displaced from their predisaster primary residences or 
        whose predisaster primary residences are rendered 
        uninhabitable, or with respect to individuals with 
        disabilities, rendered inaccessible or uninhabitable, 
        as a result of damage caused by a major disaster.
          (2) Determination of appropriate types of 
        assistance.--
                  (A) In general.--The President shall 
                determine appropriate types of housing 
                assistance to be provided under this section to 
                individuals and households described in 
                subsection (a)(1) based on considerations of 
                cost effectiveness, convenience to the 
                individuals and households, and such other 
                factors as the President may consider 
                appropriate.
                  (B) Multiple types of assistance.--One or 
                more types of housing assistance may be made 
                available under this section, based on the 
                suitability and availability of the types of 
                assistance, to meet the needs of individuals 
                and households in the particular disaster 
                situation.
  (c) Types of Housing Assistance.--
          (1) Temporary housing.--
                  (A) Financial assistance.--
                          (i) In general.--The President may 
                        provide financial assistance to 
                        individuals or households to rent 
                        alternate housing accommodations, 
                        existing rental units, manufactured 
                        housing, recreational vehicles, or 
                        other readily fabricated dwellings. 
                        Such assistance may include the payment 
                        of the cost of utilities, excluding 
                        telephone service.
                          (ii) Amount.--The amount of 
                        assistance under clause (i) shall be 
                        based on the fair market rent for the 
                        accommodation provided plus the cost of 
                        any transportation, utility hookups, 
                        security deposits, or unit installation 
                        not provided directly by the President.
                  (B) Direct assistance.--
                          (i) In general.--The President may 
                        provide temporary housing units, 
                        acquired by purchase or lease, directly 
                        to individuals or households who, 
                        because of a lack of available housing 
                        resources, would be unable to make use 
                        of the assistance provided under 
                        subparagraph (A).
                          (ii) Lease and repair of rental units 
                        for temporary housing.--
                                  (I) In general.--The 
                                President, to the extent the 
                                President determines it would 
                                be a cost-effective alternative 
                                to other temporary housing 
                                options, may--
                                          (aa) enter into lease 
                                        agreements with owners 
                                        of multifamily rental 
                                        property impacted by a 
                                        major disaster or 
                                        located in areas 
                                        covered by a major 
                                        disaster declaration to 
                                        house individuals and 
                                        households eligible for 
                                        assistance under this 
                                        section; and
                                          (bb) make repairs or 
                                        improvements to 
                                        properties under such 
                                        lease agreements, to 
                                        the extent necessary to 
                                        serve as safe and 
                                        adequate temporary 
                                        housing.
                                  (II) Improvements or 
                                repairs.--Under the terms of 
                                any lease agreement for 
                                property entered into under 
                                this subsection, the value of 
                                the improvements or repairs 
                                shall be deducted from the 
                                value of the lease agreement.
                          (iii) Period of assistance.--The 
                        President may not provide direct 
                        assistance under clause (i) with 
                        respect to a major disaster after the 
                        end of the 18-month period beginning on 
                        the date of the declaration of the 
                        major disaster by the President, except 
                        that the President may extend that 
                        period if the President determines that 
                        due to extraordinary circumstances an 
                        extension would be in the public 
                        interest.
                          (iv) Collection of rental charges.--
                        After the end of the 18-month period 
                        referred to in clause (iii), the 
                        President may charge fair market rent 
                        for each temporary housing unit 
                        provided.
          (2) Repairs.--
                  (A) In general.--The President may provide 
                financial assistance for--
                          (i) the repair of owner-occupied 
                        private residences, utilities, and 
                        residential infrastructure (such as a 
                        private access route) damaged by a 
                        major disaster [to a safe and sanitary 
                        living or functioning condition] to 
                        ensure that such residences are 
                        habitable during longer term recovery 
                        (including through coordination with 
                        other sources for repair and rebuilding 
                        of such residences); and
                          (ii) eligible hazard mitigation 
                        measures that reduce the likelihood of 
                        future damage to such residences, 
                        utilities, or infrastructure.
                  (B) Relationship to other assistance.--A 
                recipient of assistance provided under this 
                paragraph shall not be required to show that 
                the assistance can be met through other means, 
                except insurance proceeds.
          (3) Replacement.--
                  (A) In general.--The President may provide 
                financial assistance for the replacement of 
                owner-occupied private residences damaged by a 
                major disaster.
                  (B) Applicability of flood insurance 
                requirement.--With respect to assistance 
                provided under this paragraph, the President 
                may not waive any provision of Federal law 
                requiring the purchase of flood insurance as a 
                condition of the receipt of Federal disaster 
                assistance.
          (4) Permanent housing construction.--The President 
        may provide financial assistance or direct assistance 
        to individuals or households to construct permanent or 
        semi-permanent housing in insular areas outside the 
        continental United States and in other locations [in 
        cases in which--
                  [(A) no alternative housing resources are 
                available; and
                  [(B) the types of temporary housing 
                assistance described in paragraph (1) are 
                unavailable, infeasible, or not cost-
                effective.] if the President determines such 
                assistance is a cost effective alternative to 
                other housing solutions, including the costs 
                associated with temporary housing provided 
                under this section.
  (d) Terms and Conditions Relating to Housing Assistance.--
          (1) Sites.--
                  (A) In general.--Any readily fabricated 
                dwelling provided under this section shall, 
                whenever practicable, be located on a site 
                that--
                          (i) is complete with utilities;
                          (ii) meets the physical accessibility 
                        requirements for individuals with 
                        disabilities; and
                          (iii) is provided by the State or 
                        local government, by the owner of the 
                        site, or by the occupant who was 
                        displaced by the major disaster.
                  (B) Sites provided by the president.--A 
                readily fabricated dwelling may be located on a 
                site provided by the President if the President 
                determines that such a site would be more 
                economical or accessible.
          (2) Disposal of units.--
                  (A) Sale to occupants.--
                          (i) In general.--Notwithstanding any 
                        other provision of law, a temporary 
                        housing unit purchased under this 
                        section by the President for the 
                        purpose of housing disaster victims may 
                        be sold directly to the individual or 
                        household who is occupying the unit if 
                        the individual or household lacks 
                        permanent housing.
                          (ii) Sale price.--A sale of a 
                        temporary housing unit under clause (i) 
                        shall be at a price that is fair and 
                        equitable.
                          (iii) Deposit of proceeds.--
                        Notwithstanding any other provision of 
                        law, the proceeds of a sale under 
                        clause (i) shall be deposited in the 
                        appropriate Disaster Relief Fund 
                        account.
                          (iv) Hazard and flood insurance.--A 
                        sale of a temporary housing unit under 
                        clause (i) shall be made on the 
                        condition that the individual or 
                        household purchasing the housing unit 
                        agrees to obtain and maintain hazard 
                        and flood insurance on the housing 
                        unit.
                          (v) Use of gsa services.--The 
                        President may use the services of the 
                        General Services Administration to 
                        accomplish a sale under clause (i).
                  (B) Other methods of disposal.--If not 
                disposed of under subparagraph (A), a temporary 
                housing unit purchased under this section by 
                the President for the purpose of housing 
                disaster victims--
                          (i) may be sold to any person; or
                          (ii) may be sold, transferred, 
                        donated, or otherwise made available 
                        directly to a State or other 
                        governmental entity or to a voluntary 
                        organization for the sole purpose of 
                        providing temporary housing to disaster 
                        victims in major disasters and 
                        emergencies if, as a condition of the 
                        sale, transfer, or donation, the State, 
                        other governmental agency, or voluntary 
                        organization agrees--
                                  (I) to comply with the 
                                nondiscrimination provisions of 
                                section 308; and
                                  (II) to obtain and maintain 
                                hazard and flood insurance on 
                                the housing unit.
  (e) Financial Assistance To Address Other Needs.--
          (1) Medical, dental, child care, and funeral 
        expenses.--The President, in consultation with the 
        Governor of a State, may provide financial assistance 
        under this section to an individual or household in the 
        State who is adversely affected by a major disaster to 
        meet disaster-related medical, dental, child care, and 
        funeral expenses.
          (2) Personal property, transportation, and other 
        expenses.--The President, in consultation with the 
        Governor of a State, may provide financial assistance 
        under this section to an individual or household 
        described in paragraph (1) to address personal 
        property, transportation, and other necessary expenses 
        or serious needs resulting from the major disaster.
  (f) State Role.--
          (1) State- or indian tribal government-administered 
        assistance and other needs assistance.--
                  (A) Grant to state.--Subject to subsection 
                (g), a Governor may request a grant from the 
                President to provide assistance to individuals 
                and households in the State under subsections 
                (c)(1)(B), (c)(4), and (e) if the President and 
                the State or Indian tribal government comply, 
                as determined by the Administrator, with 
                paragraph (3).
                  (B) Administrative costs.--A State that 
                receives a grant under subparagraph (A) may 
                expend not more than 5 percent of the amount of 
                the grant for the administrative costs of 
                providing assistance to individuals and 
                households in the State under subsections 
                (c)(1)(B), (c)(4), and (e).
          (2) Access to records.--In providing assistance to 
        individuals and households under this section, the 
        President shall provide for the substantial and ongoing 
        involvement of the States in which the individuals and 
        households are located, including by providing to the 
        States access to the electronic records of individuals 
        and households receiving assistance under this section 
        in order for the States to make available any 
        additional State and local assistance to the 
        individuals and households.
          (3) Requirements.--
                  (A) Application.--A State or Indian tribal 
                government desiring to provide assistance under 
                subsection (c)(1)(B), (c)(4), or (e) shall 
                submit to the President an application for a 
                grant to provide financial assistance under the 
                program.
                  (B) Criteria.--The President, in consultation 
                and coordination with State and Indian tribal 
                governments, shall establish criteria for the 
                approval of applications submitted under 
                subparagraph (A). The criteria shall include, 
                at a minimum--
                          (i) a requirement that the State or 
                        Indian tribal government submit a 
                        housing strategy under subparagraph 
                        (C);
                          (ii) the demonstrated ability of the 
                        State or Indian tribal government to 
                        manage the program under this section;
                          (iii) there being in effect a plan 
                        approved by the President as to how the 
                        State or Indian tribal government will 
                        comply with applicable Federal laws and 
                        regulations and how the State or Indian 
                        tribal government will provide 
                        assistance under its plan;
                          (iv) a requirement that the State or 
                        Indian tribal government comply with 
                        rules and regulations established 
                        pursuant to subsection (j); and
                          (v) a requirement that the President, 
                        or the designee of the President, 
                        comply with subsection (i).
                  (C) Requirement of housing strategy.--
                          (i) In general.--A State or Indian 
                        tribal government submitting an 
                        application under this paragraph shall 
                        have an approved housing strategy, 
                        which shall be developed and submitted 
                        to the President for approval.
                          (ii) Requirements.--The housing 
                        strategy required under clause (i) 
                        shall--
                                  (I) outline the approach of 
                                the State in working with 
                                Federal partners, Indian tribal 
                                governments, local communities, 
                                nongovernmental organizations, 
                                and individual disaster 
                                survivors to meet disaster-
                                related sheltering and housing 
                                needs; and
                                  (II) include the 
                                establishment of an activation 
                                plan for a State Disaster 
                                Housing Task Force, as outlined 
                                in the National Disaster 
                                Housing Strategy, to bring 
                                together State, tribal, local, 
                                Federal, nongovernmental, and 
                                private sector expertise to 
                                evaluate housing requirements, 
                                consider potential solutions, 
                                recognize special needs 
                                populations, and propose 
                                recommendations.
                  (D) Quality assurance.--Before approving an 
                application submitted under this section, the 
                President, or the designee of the President, 
                shall institute adequate policies, procedures, 
                and internal controls to prevent waste, fraud, 
                abuse, and program mismanagement for this 
                program and for programs under subsections 
                (c)(1)(B), (c)(4), and (e). The President shall 
                monitor and conduct quality assurance 
                activities on a State or Indian tribal 
                government's implementation of programs under 
                subsections (c)(1)(B), (c)(4), and (e). If, 
                after approving an application of a State or 
                Indian tribal government submitted under this 
                paragraph, the President determines that the 
                State or Indian tribal government is not 
                administering the program established by this 
                section in a manner satisfactory to the 
                President, the President shall withdraw the 
                approval.
                  (E) Audits.--The Inspector General of the 
                Department of Homeland Security shall provide 
                for periodic audits of the programs 
                administered by States and Indian tribal 
                governments under this subsection.
                  (F) Applicable laws.--All Federal laws 
                applicable to the management, administration, 
                or contracting of the programs by the Federal 
                Emergency Management Agency under this section 
                shall be applicable to the management, 
                administration, or contracting by a non-Federal 
                entity under this section.
                  (G) Report on effectiveness.--Not later than 
                18 months after the date of enactment of this 
                paragraph, the Inspector General of the 
                Department of Homeland Security shall submit a 
                report to the Committee on Homeland Security 
                and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the 
                Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
                of the House of Representatives on the State or 
                Indian tribal government's role to provide 
                assistance under this section. The report shall 
                contain an assessment of the effectiveness of 
                the State or Indian tribal government's role in 
                providing assistance under this section, 
                including--
                          (i) whether the State or Indian 
                        tribal government's role helped to 
                        improve the general speed of disaster 
                        recovery;
                          (ii) whether the State or Indian 
                        tribal government providing assistance 
                        under this section had the capacity to 
                        administer this section; and
                          (iii) recommendations for changes to 
                        improve the program if the State or 
                        Indian tribal government's role to 
                        administer the programs should be 
                        continued.
                  (H) Report on incentives.--Not later than 12 
                months after the date of enactment of this 
                paragraph, the Administrator of the Federal 
                Emergency Management Agency shall submit a 
                report to the Committee on Homeland Security 
                and Governmental Affairs of the Senate and the 
                Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure 
                of the House of Representatives on a potential 
                incentive structure for awards made under this 
                section to encourage participation by eligible 
                States and Indian tribal governments. In 
                developing this report, the Administrator of 
                the Federal Emergency Management Agency shall 
                consult with State, local, and Indian tribal 
                entities to gain their input on any such 
                incentive structure to encourage participation 
                and shall include this information in the 
                report. This report should address, among other 
                options, potential adjustments to the cost-
                share requirement and management costs to State 
                and Indian tribal governments.
                  (I) Prohibition.--The President may not 
                condition the provision of Federal assistance 
                under this Act on a State or Indian tribal 
                government requesting a grant under this 
                section.
                  (J) Miscellaneous.--
                          (i) Notice and comment.--The 
                        Administrator of the Federal Emergency 
                        Management Agency may waive notice and 
                        comment rulemaking with respect to 
                        rules to carry out this section, if the 
                        Administrator determines doing so is 
                        necessary to expeditiously implement 
                        this section, and may carry out this 
                        section as a pilot program until such 
                        regulations are promulgated.
                          (ii) Final rule.--Not later than 2 
                        years after the date of enactment of 
                        this paragraph, the Administrator of 
                        the Federal Emergency Management Agency 
                        shall issue final regulations to 
                        implement this subsection as amended by 
                        the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 
                        2018.
                          (iii) Waiver and expiration.--The 
                        authority under clause (i) and any 
                        pilot program implemented pursuant to 
                        such clause shall expire 2 years after 
                        the date of enactment of this paragraph 
                        or upon issuance of final regulations 
                        pursuant to clause (ii), whichever 
                        occurs sooner.
  (g) Cost Sharing.--
          (1) Federal share.--Except as provided in paragraph 
        (2), the Federal share of the costs eligible to be paid 
        using assistance provided under this section shall be 
        100 percent.
          (2) Financial assistance to address other needs.--In 
        the case of financial assistance provided under 
        subsection (e)--
                  (A) the Federal share shall be 75 percent; 
                and
                  (B) the non-Federal share shall be paid from 
                funds made available by the State.
  (h) Maximum Amount of Assistance.--
          (1) In general.--No individual or household shall 
        receive financial assistance greater than $25,000 under 
        this section with respect to a single major disaster, 
        excluding financial assistance to rent alternate 
        housing accommodations under subsection (c)(1)(A)(i) 
        and financial assistance to address other needs under 
        subsection (e).
          (2) Other needs assistance.--The maximum financial 
        assistance any individual or household may receive 
        under subsection (e) shall be equivalent to the amount 
        set forth in paragraph (1) with respect to a single 
        major disaster.
          (3) Adjustment of limit.--The limit established under 
        paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be adjusted annually to 
        reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index for All 
        Urban Consumers published by the Department of Labor.
          (4) Exclusion of necessary expenses for individuals 
        with disabilities.--
                  (A) In general.--The maximum amount of 
                assistance established under paragraph (1) 
                shall exclude expenses to repair or replace 
                damaged accessibility-related improvements 
                under paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of 
                subsection (c) for individuals with 
                disabilities.
                  (B) Other needs assistance.--The maximum 
                amount of assistance established under 
                paragraph (2) shall exclude expenses to repair 
                or replace accessibility-related personal 
                property under subsection (e)(2) for 
                individuals with disabilities.
  (i) Verification Measures.--In carrying out this section, the 
President shall develop a system, including an electronic 
database, that shall allow the President, or the designee of 
the President, to--
          (1) verify the identity and address of recipients of 
        assistance under this section to provide reasonable 
        assurance that payments are made only to an individual 
        or household that is eligible for such assistance;
          (2) minimize the risk of making duplicative payments 
        or payments for fraudulent claims under this section;
          (3) collect any duplicate payment on a claim under 
        this section, or reduce the amount of subsequent 
        payments to offset the amount of any such duplicate 
        payment;
          (4) provide instructions to recipients of assistance 
        under this section regarding the proper use of any such 
        assistance, regardless of how such assistance is 
        distributed; and
          (5) conduct an expedited and simplified review and 
        appeal process for an individual or household whose 
        application for assistance under this section is 
        denied.
  (j) Rules and Regulations.--The President shall prescribe 
rules and regulations to carry out this section, including 
criteria, standards, and procedures for determining eligibility 
for assistance.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

    Picking up the pieces after disaster strikes can be 
difficult for disaster victims. Even with Federal disaster 
assistance and support from neighbors and charitable 
organizations, the road to recovery is arduous. Finding ways to 
remove hurdles for victims is critical. To that end, we must 
ensure disaster assistance is effective and focused on where 
the need is. The intent of H.R. 2914 seems to address a very 
real issue; however, as drafted, the legislation diverts 
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) resources away from 
helping to address immediate housing and recovery needs as 
described below:
Section 3. Eligibility for and Use of Disaster Assistance
    Section 3(b) creates additional authorities for the use of 
funds made available under section 408 of the Stafford Act. It 
would enable Individual Assistance to be used to cover the 
costs related to obtaining a title for a property, including 
taxes, fees, and the cost of land surveys.
    The Federal government should not make funds available for 
research into property title. Subsection 3(d) of this title 
already directs the FEMA Administrator to consider a wide range 
of evidence, including alternative forms of evidence, to serve 
as proof that an individual is eligible for Federal assistance. 
Property title research, including the associated taxes and 
fees, should be the responsibility of the individual 
homeowners, and under the evidence section of this bill, should 
not be necessary to prove eligibility for assistance. Disaster 
funding should be prioritized toward helping address immediate 
housing and recovery needs, not resolving title disputes which 
may predate the disaster. Particularly in light of 3(d), 
subsection 3(b) would place additional and unnecessary burdens 
on the agencies which carry out the disaster response and 
recovery process.
Subsection 3(b)
    The Federal government must establish eligibility for 
Federal assistance with clear and achievable criteria that is 
consistent with current disaster processes. This subsection 
does not clarify whether an individual would only be eligible 
for such assistance if they were applying on behalf of the 
primary residence of such individual or household. The Federal 
government should continue to prioritize available assistance 
to homeowners whose primary residence has been damaged by a 
disaster and are therefore a high priority for assistance.
    By failing to clarify that this assistance should be 
prioritized for primary residences, this subsection lowers the 
bar and opens the door to fraud, drawing critical disaster 
funds away from those with the most critical need. The intent 
of the bill is to increase eligibility for assistance, but FEMA 
should still require reasonable proof that an individual or 
household qualifies for that assistance.

                                                     Garret Graves.

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