H.R. 6424, The Property Mitigation Assistance Act

Would establish a homeowner mitigation loan program within the Federal Emergency Management Agency to promote pre-disaster property mitigation measures.

Even as hurricane-battered residents and businesses continue to try to recover from this decade’s devastating storms, a new threat now endangers their economic safety: the rapidly rising cost of property insurance in areas at risk of such natural disasters. Several legislative proposals have been drafted recently to deal with the situation by expanding existing government programs, all of those proposals suffer from critical flaws: They eliminate the efficiencies of competition. They threaten to overburden the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a National Flood Insurance Program that already is $17 billion in debt. And they expose federal taxpayers to enormous new liability. Under such proposals, the next regional natural disaster would likely become a national financial disaster as well.

Instead, the federal government can help residents and business – both now and in the future – by supporting state efforts to assist residents in making structural improvements to their homes and businesses. Such “hardening” would mitigate the damage caused by the inevitable storms and prevent further financial harms. By passing the “Property Mitigation Assistance Act,” Congress can help states dramatically further such efforts through the creation of a loan program that would target those people most in-need of aid.

Bill’s loan program would help residents prevent storm damage by hardening their homes now

The “Property Mitigation Assistance Act of 2008,” establishes a homeowner mitigation loan program within the Federal Emergency Management Agency to promote pre-disaster property mitigation measures. The bill provides grants of at least $500,000 to states based on the state’s risk of natural disaster. The bill authorizes $200 million for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2014 for the homeowner mitigation loan program.

Major provisions of the bill include:

  • Establishes the Homeowner Mitigation Loan Program. The bill directs the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to establish a grant program to help states promote pre-disaster property mitigation efforts.
  • Establishes eligibility requirements for states, residents. States that meet the terms in the bill will receive grants of at least $500,000 to be distributed to residents through grants or loans in order to help residents take such measures as adding storm shutters, hurricane clips, or safe rooms; increasing the elevation of an electrical or heating system; or any other activity that will mitigate the risks of future hazards and natural disasters.