7/20/2017

Call to Action: Proposed Bill Aims to Provide Federal Support to Associations After a Natural Disaster

Posted In Community, Severe Weather

If another hurricane strikes South Carolina, Rep. Mark Sanford wants residents in private communities and neighborhoods with homeowners associations to be eligible for help cleaning up debris.

Congressman Sanford introduced a bill in early July – the Disaster Assistance Equity Act – that would allow common interest communities – neighborhoods, condominium complexes, and cooperatives that share amenities and infrastructure typically owned by an homeowners association (HOA) – to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid following a natural disaster.

“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. The simple aim of the bill is to treat taxpayers the same.”

Under current guidelines, Kiawah, like other HOA’s throughout the country, is not eligible for FEMA assistance following a natural disaster (i.e. hurricane, fire, earthquake, etc.). KICA COO Jimmy Bailey believes this should change and supports this proposed bill as a step in the right direction.

“Residents in private communities or neighborhoods with homeowners associations are citizens who pay the same federal taxes as everyone else. This is an issue of equity.”

Sanford’s bill is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of New York congressmen: Democrats Jerry Nadler and Eliot Engel, and Republicans Peter King and Lee Zeldin.

The Disaster Assistance Equity Act has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for discussion and a recommendation.

“I urge association members around the country to contact their elected officials expressing their support of this bill,” said Bailey. “We were lucky that Hurricane Matthew resulted in only a modest supplemental assessment for clean-up and repair, but a bigger storm could create a huge financial burden. Fixing this flaw in the current guidelines would prevent that from happening.”

Contact information for federal and state officials can be found at usa.gov/elected-officials. For more information the proposed bill, visit Sanford.house.gov.