Thursday, October 12, 2006

Stafford Act Amendments

Subtitle E of the "post-Katrina Act" contains amendments to the Stafford Act. (The image, by the way, is Robert T. Stafford Hall at the University of Vermont.) Here are some of the important changes:
  • Without awaiting a request from the governor, the president can "provide accelerated Federal assistance and Federal support where necessary to save lives, prevent human suffering, or mitigate severe damage."
  • FEMA is supposed to devise a "National Disaster Recovery Strategy" (sec. 682) and a National Disaster Housing Strategy (sec. 683).
  • Discrimination in providing disaster relief on the basis of age or English proficiency is forbidden.
  • A couple of pilot programs are established dealing with temporary housing and public assistance.
  • New provisions are made for reunifying families.
To round out the statute, subtitle G deals with fraud issues and subtitle H authorizes 10% increases in funding for FEMA in each of the years 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Overall, the statute seems to me to call for a lot of strategies and new organizational entities. The big question is whether these things will come to pass in a meaningful way.


Blogger David said...

Following Katrina, many were concerned that Federal funding under the Sec. 404 of the Stafford Act could be used to transform acquired properties into green space. Many of these concerns turned out to be unfounded -- but it seems that the potential remains. Fear of green space reclamation was based mostly on the notion that it would effectively sanction the removal of poor, mostly African American, homeowners, particularly in the Ninth Ward. Are there any protections extended in this arena?

10/12/2006 11:41 AM  

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