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WASHINGTON — International humanitarian and development organization Oxfam America is calling on the House of Representatives to pass the Gulf Coast Hurricane Recovery Act of 2007 (HR 1227) tomorrow. The bill comes before the House more than a year and a half after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated coastal communities from Alabama to Texas.
The housing crisis on the Gulf Coast persists. Homeowners are still waiting for financial assistance sufficient to rebuild, repair or relocate their homes. At least 60,000 pre-disaster low-income renters remain displaced. In recent weeks, advocates from the Gulf Coast have been testifying at hearings, lobbying in Washington DC, and rallying their networks all over the country to shape and support this bill to ensure that it helps low-income communities.
“This bill is a critical step to making sure low-income survivors are no longer left behind in the recovery,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. “Reports are that ‘Katrina Fatigue’ is setting in on Capitol Hill. Lawmakers need to know that the continuing crisis in the Gulf Coast is not yesterday’s news, but a test of our commitment to address the needs of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Key measures in HR1227 include:
- Increased transparency and accountability for the way the federal recovery dollars are being spent by the states, including monthly reports on the effectiveness of Louisiana’s “Road Home” program.
- Rights protections for public housing residents in both states, including the right to return.
- Funding that will help create 4500 units of rental housing for disabled, homeless and elderly households.
Oxfam America is collaborating with over 20 organizations in hurricane-impacted communities in Mississippi and Louisiana. In communities that have been bypassed by federal recovery dollars, our partner organizations are working with impacted families, volunteers and donated materials to help families get back into homes—and to advocate for a fair share of the funding.