Habitat for Humanity Joins SmarterSafer Coalition to Push for Affordability Reforms in National Flood Insurance Program



CONTACT: William Gerlich, 212-390-8860

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 25, 2017)SmarterSafer.org today announced that Habitat for Humanity has become a member of the coalition, joining the effort to press Congress to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is $25 billion in debt and is set to expire on Sept. 30.

The announcement follows SmarterSafer.org’s letter to the Senate Banking Committee urging it to include several major reforms absent in their recently introduced NFIP reauthorization legislation. While the bill includes important improvements in mapping and mitigation, it falls short of putting the program on sound financial footing.

“The SmarterSafer coalition’s work is both urgent and important, and so we look forward to coming together with other member organizations to advance flood insurance reform,” said Christopher Ptomey, senior director of Government Relations at Habitat for Humanity International. “Our first priority for NFIP reform is to better protect the families living in the affordable homes that Habitat builds in more than 1,300 communities nationwide. We urge the Senate Banking Committee to prioritize mitigation assistance and affordability for low-income households in their measure.”

SmarterSafer added: “We are pleased to have Habitat for Humanity join our coalition to help ensure that the NFIP remains sustainable for years to come. Together, we are calling on the Senate Banking Committee to amend their current NFIP legislation to allow for consumers to have access to more affordable options by expanding the marketplace to private sector insurers, while also continuing to move toward risk-based rates and greater mitigation investments. We look forward to working with the Senate in the upcoming days to advance these necessary reforms.”

By becoming a member of the SmarterSafer coalition, Habitat for Humanity joins the group’s diverse chorus of taxpayer advocates, environmental groups, insurance interests, housing organizations and mitigation advocates currently pushing for Congress to comprehensively reform the NFIP. SmarterSafer previously released a NFIP reform proposal, which recommends that any reauthorization should prioritize the following reforms:

  • Focus more on proactive resiliency measures that will lessen the amount of damage when storms hit.
  • Update and improve mapping techniques to ensure accurate, up-to-date risk analysis so that rates can accurately reflect risk.
  • Allow consumers choice in flood insurance policies by ensuring private insurers have access to the flood insurance market, giving consumers access to better rates and higher coverage limits.
  • Continue to move towards a system of risk-based rates for all properties while providing assistance to lower-income policyholders, with an emphasis on subsidizing mitigation instead of rates.
A full list of SmarterSafer’s members can be found here, and SmarterSafer’s NFIP reform proposal can be found here.
About SmarterSafer.org
SmarterSafer.org is a national coalition that is made up of a diverse chorus of voices united in favor of environmentally responsible, fiscally sound approaches to natural catastrophe policy that promote public safety. The coalition believes that the Federal government has a role in encouraging and helping homeowners to undertake mitigation efforts to safeguard their homes against natural disasters.  At the same time, the coalition opposes measures that put people’s lives at risk at the expense of taxpayers.  Measures such as subsidizing artificially low rates for homeowners’ insurance policies help to encourage construction in environmentally sensitive and unsafe areas.  The coalition is working to ensure that Congress does not incentivize people to live in harm’s way in places prone to hurricanes and floods.
About Habitat for Humanity
Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in more than 1,300 communities throughout the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.