There is a new caucus in the House of Representatives that will focus on "promoting the benefits of resilience and the need for equity in the country's disaster preparedness and response infrastructure." The newly-created Disaster Equity and Building Resilience Caucus will be co-chaired by Bennie Thompson (MS-2), Troy Carter (LA-2), Dina Titus (NV-1), and Brian Higgins (NY-26). The GAC will look for opportunities to engage with the Caucus as it gets up and running.
This is an important step toward coalescence around equity and resilience issues related to disasters in Congress. It isn't a political issue. It's a people issue. As emergency managers, we need to be diligent about monitoring the programs we run on behalf of our communities at the level of impact. When there are clear disparities in program delivery and outcome along racial, gender, ethnic, cultural, disability, and other socioeconomic lines, we need to ask ourselves how to build better programs. Following the rules and running programs according to guidance and regulations is not good enough when the outcomes are clearly off target. The rules need to be changed, because the people who need assistance are counting on us to get it to them timely, fairly, and responsibly.
I echo your words. I have been a state administrator over both FEMA and HUD funded programs and so know there are ways we can improve these programs to make them more equitable. It's about doing the right thing for all our citizens and just the thing to comply. If the rules do not make sense let's make them make sense and serve all.
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