WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee passed the Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects Act (HELP) Act out of committee, legislation U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced last year to address bureaucratic delays communities face when rebuilding after a natural disaster.
“I applaud the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee for passing this commonsense and bipartisan legislation out of committee,” said Senator Tillis. “North Carolinians are too familiar with the devastating impacts of natural disasters and they also know how slow federal relief programs can take to provide assistance. I was proud to introduce this legislation to speed up the disaster recovery process and ensure our communities have the resources they need to recover in a timely fashion.”
Following a natural disaster, FEMA’s mitigation programs help impacted communities enact measures that reduce the risk of loss of life and property before the next storm. However, current regulation prohibits an applicant from starting construction on an acquisition or demolition project until they receive an answer from FEMA as to whether their project is ultimately awarded funding. The HELP Act addresses these bureaucratic delays and makes it easier for communities to begin certain mitigation projects immediately following natural disasters.
The HELP Act was also introduced by U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), James Lankford (R-OK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH). Companion legislation was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) and Paul McCaul (R-TX), and has already been passed in the House.