An encouraging sign of understanding by new FEMA administrator

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

I liked what I heard from new FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in his June 9 testimony before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness, and Response.

In response to a question from Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS) regarding evidence that FEMA trailers cost upwards of $75,000 each, Administrator Fugate responded…

Mr. Chairman, if we’re to spend $75,000 on a temporary, 18 month solution there ought to be a better way to meet the housing needs that will a long-term and not just a temporary fix.

Because that’s where I have the same concerns sir. We’re spending an awful lot of money on a temporary solution and we know in these big hits these are long-term challenges and in 18 months we’re just not going to have every house rebuilt. We’re investing a lot of money in a patch that isn’t getting us through and helping the community move through to recovery and keeping a community viable if all our options are based on a very short timeframe. And we’re looking at things that don’t provide a housing solution and we’re not partnering for the long term so that people have a home, so we can reestablish the tax base of a community.

That is something I’m earnest about.

I hope that FEMA is indeed earnest about this. It is critical to the long-term housing recovery of low-income people that the money FEMA invests goes to solving the long-term housing needs of families.