Tillis announces bill to speed up Hurricane Matthew Assistance

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Senator Thom Tillis (Photo: MGN / Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

NORTH CAROLINA (WWAY) — Senator Thom Tillis is addressing the problem of slow distribution of federal assistance following natural disasters. Today he announced he would be introducing a bill in the U.S. Senate to help with it.

The bill is called the Ensuring Disaster Recovery for Local Communities Act.

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It would allow cities and counties to request housing and urban development to allocate the federal assistance directly to them when the state fails to distribute those funds in an 18-month period.

Additionally, it would assist North Carolina families waiting to to receive “buyout” assistance.

To ensure federal assistance for Hurricane Matthew and all future disaster assistance goes to North Carolina communities faster, the legislation will do the following:

  • Directs the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to set spending goal thresholds for state grantees to hit on six months intervals, creating tangible spending metrics for the public and impacted storm survivors to hold grantees accountable.
  • Ensures local communities have access to federal disaster assistance by allowing them to request to take over funds as a subgrantee when a state grantee fails to spend funds in a timely manner after an 18-month span as prescribed by HUD.
  • Local communities can adopt the state grantee’s HUD-approved Action Plan to further expedite relief. For communities that do not yet have a capacity to administer funds, HUD would provide each community with technical assistance.