WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) helped introduce the Hazard Eligibility and Local Projects (HELP) Act to alter eligibility for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) hazard mitigation program to allow local municipalities and states to more quickly begin land acquisition and simple construction projects following a natural disaster. Under current law, local stakeholders applying for federal funding for mitigation projects are disqualified from receiving federal assistance if they purchase land or begin construction before FEMA approves their application, thus delaying important resiliency projects and precluding hurt communities from rebuilding as quickly as possible. The HELP Act would change the rules of applying to FEMA’s hazard mitigation program so that applicants are not disqualified from funds for beginning their projects during the application process.
“In the aftermath of a natural disaster, every day counts,” said Sen. Cornyn. “As Texans have seen far too many times, government assistance – while well-intentioned and incredibly helpful – can be slow to reach those most in need. We should be encouraging those who want to take immediate action to rebuild rather than punishing them by withholding federal funds.”