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S. 2996 (115th): Housing Victims of Major Disasters Act of 2018


The text of the bill below is as of Jun 5, 2018 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


II

115th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2996

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 5, 2018

(for herself, Mr. Markey, Mr. Blumenthal, Mr. Merkley, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Sanders, Mrs. Gillibrand, Ms. Harris, and Mr. Casey) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

A BILL

To make available necessary disaster assistance for families affected by major disasters, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Housing Victims of Major Disasters Act of 2018.

2.

Definitions

In this Act, the terms Agency and Administrator mean the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Administrator thereof, respectively.

3.

Eligibility for and use of disaster housing assistance

(a)

Eligibility

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, individuals and households described in subsection (c) shall be eligible for housing 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

In the case of any housing assistance described in subsection (a) that is made available in connection with 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), including Hurricane Maria of 2017, the assistance may be used on behalf of an individual or household described in subsection (c) for costs relating to obtaining title for that individual or household to a property described in subsection (c)(1), which shall include the cost of land surveys and any other taxes or fees associated with transfer of the property.

(c)

Eligibility

(1)

In general

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—

(A)

is occupying an otherwise unused or uninhabited property located in the area for which the major disaster was declared but does not have documented ownership rights to and is not renting the property; or

(B)

is renting a property located in the area for which the major disaster was declared but does not have a written lease for the rental.

(2)

Consideration

In making a determination of whether occupancy or a rental tenancy exists for purposes of subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1), the Administrator shall consider a wide range of evidence that demonstrates the existence of the occupancy or tenancy set forth in subsection (d).

(d)

Alternative forms of proof

(1)

In general

In determining if an individual or household is eligible for housing assistance under subsection (c), the Administrator shall consider a sworn and notarized affidavit written by a licensed attorney that affirms the occupancy or tenancy by the individual who owns, possesses, and maintains the property and the presentation of one of the following documents to affirm proof of ownership of the individual named in the affidavit:

(A)

A utility (gas, electric, or water) bill with the name and address of the individual.

(B)

A merchant’s statement (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 property.

(F)

Mortgage payment booklet or other mortgage documents.

(G)

Property title of mobile home certificate of title.

(H)

Real estate property tax receipts.

(I)

School registration for self, child, or children.

(J)

Will and testament with the name and address of the individual.

(K)

Medical records that list the name and address of the individual.

(L)

Charitable donation receipts that list the name and address of the individual.

(M)

Government assistance documents.

(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 damaged property.

(O)

If records are unavailable due to damage from the major disaster or any other circumstance that impedes an individual from providing proof of ownership, the Administrator shall request verification from the State or Federal agency with the written permission of the individual or legally authorized representative of the individual.

(2)

Additional review

The Administrator shall conduct an additional review of any application for housing assistance under section 408 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5174) that was—

(A)

submitted before the date of enactment of this Act; and

(B)

denied in 2017 or 2018.

(3)

Notification of employees

Not later than 7 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall provide written notification and guidance to employees of the Agency regarding the requirements set forth in this Act.

4.

FEMA DHAP agreements

(a)

2017 disasters

Not later than 15 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall enter into an interagency agreement or agreements with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development as may be necessary to ensure the implementation of a Disaster Housing Assistance Program to provide temporary rental assistance to individuals and households displaced from their residences by any 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) during 2017, including Hurricane Maria, including individuals and households eligible for such assistance under section 3(a) of this Act.

(b)

Future disasters

In the case of any 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) on or after the date of enactment of this Act, not later than 60 days after that declaration, the Administrator and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development shall engage in consultations regarding the implementation of a Disaster Housing Assistance Program to provide temporary rental assistance to individuals and households displaced from their residences by the major disaster, including individuals and households eligible for such assistance under section 3(a) of this Act.