Torres, Poe Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Homeowners Prepare for Natural Disasters
With the 2018 hurricane and wildfire season underway, the Homeowners Disaster Preparation Act would provide homeowners with loans to better plan for floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and landslides
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Norma J. Torres (D-CA) and Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced the bipartisan Homeowners Disaster Preparation Act, to help homeowners prepare for and mitigate the devastating effects of natural disasters. An estimated sixty-seven percent of Disaster Relief Funds go towards repairing houses post-natural disasters. The bill would allow the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide homeowners with loans up to $10,000 for pre-disaster projects in areas the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deems at risk for earthquakes, flooding, landslides, or tornadoes.
“In California, we’re no strangers to natural disasters or the high price tag of rebuilding. Last year’s historic devastating wildfires and landslides destroyed more than 8,400 homes and businesses. Homeowners should be equipped with the proper resources to prepare for the worst and lessen the large financial burden they’re left to shoulder,” said Torres. “Our bipartisan bill will not only allow families to make critical modifications to fortify their homes, but will also strengthen the safety and resiliency of our communities.”
“Last year, Hurricane Harvey destroyed thousands of businesses and homes across Texas’ Second Congressional District. In the aftermath of one of the costliest natural disasters in history, Congress finally got the message: we must not only meet short-term needs but address the long term- what is needed to mitigate our continual flooding problems, ensure processes are transparent, and agencies are accountable," said Rep. Poe. “The Homeowners Disaster Preparation Act helps Americans do just that. This bill gives homeowners in disaster-prone areas access to up to $10,000 in loans from the Small Business Administration for disaster mitigation projects. Texans are resilient, but it’s up to us to provide our constituents with the necessary tools to be prepared when disaster strikes, not just left picking up the pieces.”
Loans made available under the Homeowners Disaster Preparation Act will help homeowners prepare for disaster through modifications such as building a retaining wall, a dyke wall, a foundation anchor, or a rain garden. Additionally, this bill makes the same loans available to individuals with severe medical conditions that would benefit from retrofitting their homes to include items like backup power generators.
Torres is a member of the powerful Rules Committee, Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Budget Task Force, and a co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition 21st Century Infrastructure Task Force.