Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed bi-partisan legislation calling for new and improved ways of managing the losses and related costs of natural and man-made disasters. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Assistance Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 1471) reauthorizes the agency and commissions an assessment of trends in disaster losses, including causes and amounts, and will make related recommendations to FEMA and Congress. The legislation also allocates more funds to disaster relief and recovery efforts to reduce administrative costs, hasten aid, and help communities recover more quickly; it sets rates at which states and local governments will be reimbursed for administrative costs incurred to implement disaster-recovery projects and establishes a fixed cap for those costs.
“A new assessment of disaster costs is long overdue, and will provide valuable information to better manage the spiraling costs of disaster assistance incurred by the American taxpayer,” said AIA President Russell Davidson, FAIA, in a statement. “Furthermore, input from architects is a necessary ingredient for the federal government to develop a comprehensive mitigation investment strategy, leading to recommendations that will reduce the loss of life and property, while enabling cost savings and improved efficiency and effectiveness for FEMA.”