WASHINGTON D.C. (WMBB) — Almost a year later, people all over the Panhandle continue to recover and rebuild after Hurricane Michael. On Thursday, both of Florida’s U.S. senators, among others, introduced the Disaster Assistance Simplification Act to make it easier for future survivors of natural disasters to receive aid.
Senators Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, John Cornyn, Ted Cruz and John Kennedy introduced the legislation. If passed, it would prohibit the Department of Housing and Urban Development from penalizing victims of qualified natural disasters who apply for but decline Small Business Administration disaster loans.
Survivors of natural disasters who apply for, but do not accept, SBA loans are currently penalized when Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief Funds are awarded. Every dollar of SBA loan money for which they are approved is a dollar less that can be awarded in CDBG disaster relief grants.
Senator Rubio said in a statement, “Hurricanes Irma, Michael, and Matthew have caused catastrophic destruction throughout Florida in the past three years and disrupted the lives of millions of Americans.” He added, “The current disaster assistance process is unsynchronized and burdensome for victims of natural disasters. As Floridians, and thousands of Americans across our nation, continue to rebuild and recover from recent natural disasters, removing bureaucratic hurdles is imperative to ensuring that no victim is penalized for weighing their hurricane recovery options.”
Rubio, Kennedy, Cornyn, and Cruz originally introduced this legislation last Congress.