In a meeting with the Washington, D.C., office of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), CAI’s Florida Legislative Alliance (CAI-FLA) members urged Rubio to introduce the Disaster Assistance Equity Act (DAEA) in the Senate and work to enact it into law.

H.R. 5298 is non-partisan legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to streamline disaster recovery in community associations. The legislation allows community associations to receive help removing disaster debris from association roads and helps condominium and housing cooperative homeowners repair critical building infrastructure damaged by a major natural disaster.

Members of the CAI-FLA shared examples of local governments in Florida refusing or delaying debris removal assistance to community associations while removing debris from non-association neighborhoods.

In a letter to Rubio delivered following the meeting, the CAI-FLA wrote, Association homeowners and residents deserve equal access to the national disaster response and recovery toolkit. Denying these homeowners and households federal disaster recovery assistance reduces community resilience and is patently unfair.”

The CAI-FLA requested Rubio make enactment of DAEA a high priority.

In 2017, Rubio wrote the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) observing, “The longer we wait for debris removal, the more these piles of debris continue to produce unsafe and unsanitary conditions for Floridians across the state…the law provides [FEMA] with the authority to assist with debris removal on private property after a natural disaster.”

The same year, the Florida congressional delegation urged FEMA to help community associations with debris removal. In a letter to FEMA, federal lawmakers criticized a lack of clarity on debris removal from private roads like those owned by community associations. The lawmakers noted, “While we certainly recognize that FEMA guidelines generally prohibit reimbursement [to local governments] for the removal of debris on private roads, we have asked FEMA multiple times to provide guidance on…FEMA reimbursement approval…”

DAEA achieves the clarity Florida’s congressional delegation says is required to remove debris from association roads so communities can recover. It’s critical for community association residents to have full, unimpeded access to federal disaster recovery resources.

Let your federal lawmakers know access to disaster recovery assistance is a critical issue for community associations. Ask your U.S. representative or senator to support the Disaster Assistance Equity Act.

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