Today the House will debate the Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007, introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-35). When it passed out of the Financial Services Committee, the Committee’s release described the bill:
House Financial Services Committee Passes Comprehensive Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Bill
House Floor Action to follow
Washington, DC – The House Financial Services Committee today passed H.R. 1227, the “Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007.” The bill, as amended, passed on a bipartisan vote of 50-16, and will provide comprehensive housing relief for the hurricane impacted areas of the Gulf Coast. The measure will provide increased flexibility for already allocated funds, provides new oversight of existing programs, preserves public housing and assists evacuees with rental housing, and provides support for landlords and local communities who assisted evacuees with housing.
“Today, the people of the Gulf Coast won a tremendous victory. The 'Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007' will help to facilitate the implementation of recovery in a real and meaningful way. This bill will allow for the use of certain monies to be used as matching funds to provide necessary waivers and add over one billion dollars in aid transferred from FEMA to those who need it most. Additionally, reporting requirements in this bill will help speed up subsidies to homeowners to rebuild their homes,” said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chair of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. “Most importantly, this bill will create the opportunity for residents of public housing to be able to return from cities around the country to their everyday lives. I am glad we have finally made it possible for them to go home.”
In short, the bill is designed to:
- Speed up the repair and rebuilding of homes and affordable rental housing in areas affected by Katrina, Rita and Wilma;
- Ensure continued rental assistance for both families that have moved back to their home areas and for families displaced by these hurricanes; and
- Provide reimbursements to communities and landlords that were generous in providing assistance to hurricane evacuees in the aftermath of the storms.
We will have more as floor debate gets underway. See more on what the new Congress has done regarding Katrina in our Katrina archives, including an exchange Rep. Waters had with an insurance industry representative during a hearing in the Financial Services Committee.