House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (HOGR) chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz demanded answers after discovering a slew of problems with Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) use of post-disaster temporary housing, including a sweltering unit where an elderly man died.
The Utah Republican asked FEMA Acting Administrator Robert Fenton in a Thursday letter to provide records explaining how the agency botched its deployment of manufactured housing units (MHUs) in the wake of a devastating August, 2016, flood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
HOGR staff found scores of temporary housing units were unused and cost as much as $340,000, far more than the $33,000 cap for assistance available under federal law. They also discovered an elderly man died in a 137.9-degree MHU with a malfunctioning air conditioning system, and FEMA deployed one housing unit to a deceased person’s address.
“The committee continues to learn of high levels of dissatisfaction from survivors and local officials regarding FEMA’s recovery efforts,” Chaffetz wrote.
Chaffetz said FEMA failed to fix many of the problems discussed at a September, 2016, HOGR hearing, like the agency’s poor communication and failure to properly distribute assistance funds to survivors, persist.
Federal assistance for Louisiana disaster survivors exceeds $4.5 billion, and more than 150,000 people registered for assistance. (RELATED: FEMA Clueless On $18 Million In Wasted Storm Recovery Funds)
FEMA spends roughly $10 billion on disaster relief each year, according to the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General.
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