Landrieu Comments on FEMA Rental Assistance Program Moving to HUD
WASHINGTON - United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Disaster Recovery Subcommittee, today made the following statement on the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announcement that FEMA's rental housing program will be transferred to HUD and that Katrina and Rita disaster housing assistance will be extended by 18 months.
Sen. Landrieu said:
"It is a positive move that FEMA rental assistance programs for Katrina and Rita victims will be transferred to HUD, which has greater expertise in housing. I have long supported moving FEMA out of long-term housing functions following disasters, and in the last Congress, I introduced a bill, S. 2983, that would give HUD that jurisdiction. I also support the extension of all housing assistance programs until March of 2009, as we need time to rebuild our communities from the first and third worst natural disasters that our country has ever experienced.
"Earlier this week, I held a hearing in my subcommittee on the issue of federal disaster housing. I questioned FEMA officials about problems with existing programs, and I encouraged an expanded role for HUD. FEMA has promised to work with Congress on the details of this new program, and our continued vigilance and oversight will be necessary.
"I will continue to work to reform the government's response to disasters, be they natural or manmade, and ensure that victims of disasters receive the most basic need, housing, from an agency that fully understands this need."