FEMA is not an internet search you would normally conduct or follow, unless you have a disaster recovery matter to cover.
And, in a related matter, January 17, 1994 seems like a distant searchable date, but the day is memorable around the world and in particular for California as the occurrence of the devastating Northridge Earthquake. For homeowners around the TRILOGY of neighborhoods in the Temescal Valley, the Northridge Quake may be a distant memory, but it is a harbinger of events that may follow. Many authorities, including seismologists, are predicting that California is overdue for another Northridge-type quake. Question is: When and where will this happen across our 163,696 square miles (423,970 km)?
These questions are given some immediacy because, last week, on our Federal Capitol Hill, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) introduced the Disaster Assistance Support for Communities and Homeowners Act of 2017, H.R. 1684. This bill directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide technical assistance to condominiums, homeowners associations, and housing cooperatives regarding the process to become eligible for disaster assistance. Certainly, a step in the right direction for granting community associations equal access to disaster programs! Another bill that will impact community associations is the Disaster Assistance Equity Act (DAEC) which is slated to be introduced later this year and is discussed in further detail below. The DAEC was first drafted in 2012 and still remains not passed and unsigned. ▶ LINK
The so-called “technical assistance” part of this legislation will better need to be defined because it appears to be a bit like the taxpayers task of getting H&R Block or TurboTax to help with tax form preparation. Those companies don't pay taxes for Americans; but simply assist with completing and filing forms. The story and a copy of H.R. 1684 are embedded in the content below.
Now, the basic challenge of the aforementioned legislation and FEMA culture change is that FEMA has for decades treated homeowners differently who reside in common interest developments (aka homeowner associations or HOAs). Such communities account for around 350,000 USA neighborhoods, according to CAI statistics, and around 30 million housing units with close to 70 million residents.
Given the importance of this issue for HOA homeowners, we find agreement as HOA blogger and journalist Deborah Goonan who wrote in November 2015: "I have previously written about Community Associations Institute (CAI), an HOA trade group, and its three Federal issues (pet peeves). One of those issues is what CAI calls Disaster Relief Fairness."
The following document, although dated January 14, 2010, may provide some insights into emergency management since the document origin is FEMA. Until the two pieces of legislation are passed by Congress, as identified in this post above, don't expect much more real assistance by FEMA if you live in a common interest development and are attempting to manage disaster recovery following any type of major community disaster, especially an earthquake.
The following VIDEO, also produced by FEMA, is dated from September 25, 2015.
If you have a question about how FEMA could possibly have a policy to treat common interest developments (aka HOAs) as business enterprises, just check out the website for the Community Association Institute (CAI): LINK
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