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U.S. House Committee Advances Bill To Streamline Disaster Relief Applications

Oregon Office Of State Fire Marshal

A U.S. House Committee advanced a bill Wednesday designed to streamline the relief application process for victims of disasters.


Getting relief aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, can often be a challenge in the wake of a natural disaster such as a wildfire or tornado. In Puerto Rico, some survivors of a 2017 hurricane faced an added challenge because they couldn’t prove they owned their own house.


Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Sprinfield, is the chair of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He said some survivors on the mainland U.S. have faced similar problems.

“Otherwise qualified survivors can’t register because they reside in homes handed down generation to generation, where there’s no titling," he said. "Or in other cases, the courthouse was wiped out and there are no records.”

H.R. 3037 would require FEMA to accept a broader range of documents to prove residency. It cleared the committee without objections and now heads to the full House.


It's not the first time similar legislation has made it this far, noted DeFazio.


"The House did its job and passed this legislation last year," he said. "As usual, the pathetic Senate failed to act."


DeFazio said he hopes new leadership in the Senate will yield a different outcome this year.


Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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