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Thompson, Warren Release New Watchdog Report on Disaster Recovery Barriers, Lack of Equitable Outcomes

December 16, 2021

(WASHINGTON) – Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) released a report they requested from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on the lack of equitable outcomes in disaster recovery programming across the Federal Government.

In its report, entitled “Disaster Recovery: Additional Actions Needed to Identify and Address Potential Recovery Barriers” (GAO-22-104039), GAO found that there is a lack of available data on equitable recovery has made it difficult to draw complete conclusions about the direct impact of Federal programs on recovery outcomes. The GAO found that disaster recovery programs may help some communities more than others. For example, small towns and rural communities may lack the resources for full disaster recovery services compared to cities with significant tax revenue. Similarly, tribal nations may not have the resources to stand up and maintain an emergency management department. 

The GAO has recommended the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Small Business Administration (SBA) lead an interagency effort to collect and analyze this much-need data and implement routine processes to address participation barriers and reduce disparate outcomes.

“Recent reports have detailed the lack of equity in Federal disaster assistance. It is clear the Federal Government must do more to ensure every survivor receives the assistance they need after disaster strikes,” said Chairman Thompson and Senator Warren. “While the Biden Administration has taken steps to address participation barriers and reduce disparate outcomes for disaster survivors, as noted by GAO, the Federal government has more work to do. With climate change continuing to make natural disasters more costly and destructive, it is critical that we redouble our efforts to be sure all our communities are being served by our recovery programs and are given the chance to fully recover.”

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Media contact:
(Thompson) Adam Comis at 202-225-9978

(Warren) Alex Sarabia at 202-224-2292



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