PDF _ RS22560 - Disaster Housing Assistance: A Legal Analysis of ACORN v. FEMA
5-Jan-2007; Kamilah M. Holder; 6 p.

Abstract: This report discusses the ongoing litigation in Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) v. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), litigation that involves certain evacuees from Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. In the ACORN case now before the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia addressed the constitutional adequacy of the notice provided to hurricane evacuees who were denied long-term housing assistance benefits by FEMA under § 408 of the Stafford Act. The court held that the notice FEMA provided to the evacuees was unconstitutionally vague and did not meet the standards of due process. The court ordered FEMA to provide a more detailed explanation of its denial of § 408 assistance to each affected evacuee and to continue short-term housing assistance under § 403 of the Stafford Act until each evacuee received a revised notice and had adequate time to appeal the denial of § 408 benefits. On December 22, 2006, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit granted, in part, FEMA’s emergency motion for a stay pending appeal. The court of appeals stayed the district court’s order requiring FEMA to immediately restore § 403 benefits and pay short-term housing assistance that the affected evacuees otherwise would have received from September 1, 2006, through November 30, 2006. The court left in effect the lower court’s order requiring that FEMA provide more detailed explanations for the denial of § 408 assistance to affected evacuees and ordered that the appeals be expedited. [read report]

Topics: General, Risk & Reform

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