U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, announced legislation Thursday that looks to assist individuals who survive major natural disasters access stable, long-term housing — an issue which has plagued several people who fled Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria last fall.
Known as the Housing Victims of Major Disasters Act, the bill would require the Federal Emergency Management Act to activate the existing Disaster Housing Assistance Program, which provides subsidies to help families pay rent, put down security deposits or pay utilities, so evacuees can transition into stable living situations.
Warren, who argued that the federal government’s current response “is failing the people of Puerto Rico,” offered that Congress owes these U.S. citizens better.
“When disaster strikes, people who are displaced deserve safe, stable housing and a chance to get back on their feet. If FEMA won’t do its job, Congress should step up and act to help the thousands of evacuees who are now living in Massachusetts and across the country,” she said in a statement.