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GAO Report on Disaster Assistance

Congress will need to add more money to the recovery fund.

The Government Accountability Office does regular reports on how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its programs are performing.

One of the latest ones is this: “Disaster Assistance: Action Needed to Improve Resilience, Response, and Recovery.”

“Specifically, we briefly cover our findings on how the federal government could improve federal efforts related to disaster assistance including:

  • Making it easier to get FEMA grants for disaster resilience projects
  • Communicating better about FEMA assistance eligibility requirements
  • Ensuring that HUD's housing-related disaster assistance reaches affected communities quickly
“We also looked at federal coordination on disaster-related efforts—considering that there are more than 30 agencies and departments involved.”

Here’s one of the findings outlined below. I’ll summarize it to say the process is too complicated and bureaucratic for smaller jurisdictions to take advantage of the program(s).

“GAO has evaluated federal disaster resilience, response, and recovery efforts and has identified opportunities for improvement.

Invest in Disaster Resilience. One way to reduce federal fiscal exposure is to invest in disaster resilience, thereby reducing the need for more costly future assistance. In 2019, GAO developed the Disaster Resilience Framework to help federal entities identify opportunities to promote disaster resilience.

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has grant programs that fund state and local projects to increase disaster resilience, such as elevating homes to prevent flood damage. However, challenges with these programs, including complex and lengthy application processes, discourage investment in projects to enhance disaster resilience.

“✓ We recommended that FEMA develop a plan to streamline its grant application processes.”
Disaster Zone by Eric Holdeman is dedicated to sharing information about the world of emergency management and homeland security.