Community Associations Institute (CAI), a national education and advocacy organization representing association-governed communities, applauded the agency today for "understanding the importance of debris-removal assistance for countless community associations along the Gulf Coast."
CAI has long advocated that community associations should receive clean-up assistance from FEMA following natural disasters.
Debris removal in community associations is typically not covered when FEMA provides monetary assistance following a natural disaster. Community associations damaged by hurricanes and other natural disasters have found that the costs of debris removal can be extremely high. Without adequate insurance coverage, homeowners in those communities can be stuck with enormous and unanticipated costs.
"We're very pleased with this decision," said CAI Senior Vice President Molly Foley-Healy. "This is going to help hundreds of community associations in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. It's certainly a step in the right direction for an agency with a mission to help Americans contend with disasters."
CAI supports the Respond Act (H.R. 1137), a bill now in the House of Representatives that would greatly expand FEMA's reimbursement for debris removal from associations and other private property.
"This is an issue of equity," said Foley-Healy. "Residents in homeowner and condominium associations pay federal taxes as well as all applicable property, state and sales taxes. Simple fairness dictates that community associations receive assistance, since government agencies do pay for debris removal in other neighborhoods. Natural disasters don't discriminate between community associations and neighborhoods without associations."
An estimated 54 million Americans make their homes in some 274,000 homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives.
CAI is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering vibrant, responsive, competent homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives. Along with its 55 regional, state and local chapters, CAI represents professional community managers, community association volunteer leaders (homeowners) and businesses and professionals who serve these communities. Member services include conferences and seminars, education courses, periodicals, books, professional service directories, advocacy and professional designations.
MEDIA CONTACT: Blaine TobinPhone: 703-970-9235