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Nelson calls for better coordination to address housing needs of hurricane victims

WASHINGTON, D.C – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson today joined nearly a dozen other U.S. senators in urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to work together to provide housing assistance to thousands of displaced Puerto Rican and U.S. Virgin Island residents.

In a letter to FEMA Administrator Brock Long and HUD Secretary Ben Carson, the senators called on the agency heads to heed recommendations made in the aftermath of similar disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, and to establish a disaster housing assistance program to help expedite temporary and long-term assistance for low-income households.

The senators emphasized that the federal government must do everything in its power to assist the victims of these hurricanes.

“We write with deep concern about the federal response to Hurricanes Maria and Irma, particularly as it relates to addressing the housing needs of the multitudes of newly-displaced families in Puerto Rico and the USVI,” the senators wrote. “It remains unclear to what extent FEMA is coordinating with HUD to respond to the disaster. Moreover, we are concerned that a lack of effective coordination will unnecessarily delay assistance and could have disastrous consequences for the families in greatest need. We are prepared to work with you to provide additional resources for unmet needs and to work to ensure that assistance is deployed effectively to help families on the islands.”

In addition to Nelson, the letter was signed by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Bob Menendez, (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bran Schatz (D-HI) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

The full text of the letter below and a PDF copy is here.

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