Rep. Greg Steube Introduces the Clean Up DEBRIS Act
Legislation Mandates FEMA Provide Debris Removal Assistance to Privately Owned Communities After Major Disasters
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) today introduced the Clean Up Disasters and Emergencies with Better Recovery and Immediate Support (DEBRIS) Act to make common interest communities, such as housing cooperatives, condominiums, and mobile homes that are a part of an association, eligible for the same assistance from FEMA as other homeowners.
“After Hurricane Ian, our mobile home parks, condos, co-ops, and HOAs were left to deal with excessive debris throughout their communities through no fault of their own. My office spent countless hours advocating to FEMA on behalf of communities in my district as we worked through reimbursement issues surrounding debris removal. Last year, we were able to secure several policy waivers from FEMA to help our commercial mobile home and manufactured housing parks get the federal assistance they needed to recover from Ian,” said Rep. Steube. “My legislation, the Clean Up DEBRIS Act, will ensure FEMA provides debris removal assistance to privately owned communities in the aftermath of all major disasters without the need for waivers or special approval. This bill will provide a swift correction to a long, burdensome, government process that communities shouldn’t be forced to navigate during storm recovery.”
“This is about providing access to vulnerable populations in homes that are most vulnerable to storms and impacts from disasters,” said Rich Collins, Sarasota County Government Director of Emergency Services. “It allows Sarasota County to take care of the community by providing assistance quickly through debris pick up in manufactured home communities and to support those situations when the parks and associations that manage the properties do not have the insurance or capability to handle the magnitude of debris pick up and support needed to care for the community. This change would ultimately allow for faster recovery. They may, through various legal descriptions be called commercial, but to the citizen who lives there, it’s called home.”
The Clean Up DEBRIS Act requires FEMA to issue rules for the removal of debris or wreckage from real estate owned by a residential common interest community resulting from a major disaster. It will deem debris removal to be in the public interest when a state or local government determines that such debris or wreckage constitutes a threat to life, public health or safety, or the economic recovery of such community. The legislation also provides for the repair of essential common elements of a condominium, co-op, or mobile home damaged by a disaster under FEMA’s Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households Program.
Following Hurricane Ian, Rep. Steube secured several policy waivers from FEMA, as requested by Sarasota County, to provide debris removal assistance for multiple mobile home park communities.