FALLS CHURCH, Va., Nov. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Community Associations Institute (CAI) recently presented the 2015 Hero of Associations award to Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) for his "…tireless efforts in helping constituents living in condominiums, cooperatives and community associations become eligible for federal disaster relief."
Israel began working on disaster relief fairness to help constituents affected by Super Storm Sandy in 2012. Since then, he has continued his efforts to ensure equitable treatment of community associations by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Israel's efforts have included introducing legislation and offering amendments that would allow community associations to qualify for federal disaster assistance and relief services.
CAI points out that rapid debris removal and cleanup after a disaster is a critical public safety task because it ensures that police, fire, EMS and other emergency services can reach all citizens.
Israel introduced H.R. 3863, the Disaster Assistance Equity Act of 2015, in October. Currently, FEMA classifies community associations as businesses, making these types of communities ineligible for federal recovery assistance when disaster strikes. Israel's bill amends the Stafford Act and requires FEMA to provide assistance to community associations when they are impacted by a major disaster.
Rep. Israel said, "A storm does not discriminate where it hits, and FEMA should not be discriminating against what type of homeowners it helps," Israel says. "It is disgraceful that … co-ops, condos and common-interest communities still do not qualify for critical storm recovery grants. I will continue fighting for passage of legislation to allow (these) communities to apply for federal grants from FEMA so (their) homeowners are eligible to receive the vital assistance they deserve."
"Congressman Israel has consistently fought to help neighborhoods, families and homeowners recover from devastation," said CAI Chief Executive Officer Thomas M. Skiba, CAE. "Association homeowners fund federal disaster assistance through taxes at the same rate as every other American. It stands to reason that community association homeowners be treated fairly by FEMA and have the right to receive disaster assistance."
Israel is actively recruiting co-sponsors for the bill in the House of Representatives and the Senate. CAI encourages residents of community associations to express the importance of this legislation to their elected representatives. CAI and Israel are urging legislators to co-sponsor the bill. Legislators can be contacted through CAI's website at www.caionline.org/advocacy/takeaction.
With more than 33,000 members dedicated to building better communities, CAI works in partnership with 60 chapters to provide information, education and resources to community associations and the professionals who support them. CAI's mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership and responsible citizenship—ideals reflected in communities that are preferred places to call home. Visit www.caionline.org or call (888) 224-4321.
SOURCE Community Associations Institute