Last week, U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., introduced the “Rebuilding Communities After Disasters Act.”

The South Florida congresswoman’s office noted that the recent collapse of a condo in Surfside helped lead to the proposal.

“The Rebuilding Communities After Disasters Act ensures homeowners have adequate resources to recover from natural disasters. Specifically, it increases the maximum loan amount for SBA physical damage disaster loans from $200,000 to $400,000 for home repair, and from $40,000 to $75,000 to replace household and personal belongings, bringing the loans limits in line with today’s home prices to help homeowners fully recover from unavoidable disasters. The limits on these loans have not been increased since 1994 – over 25 years – when the average home price in the United States was $106,000. The bill would also require the SBA to market these loans to homeowners in a declared disaster area through all media platforms and to provide a yearly report to Congress on the progress of the loan program,” Salazar’s office noted. “This bill comes alongside the Small Business Administration’s Declaration of Disaster for Surfside victims, which offers these loans to those impacted by the Surfside condo collapse in Miami-Dade County.”

Salazar also pointed to hurricanes as one of the reasons she is championing the proposal.

“We are in the midst of hurricane season, and in South Florida, we know all too well how these storms can absolutely devastate our homes,” said Salazar. “We must do everything possible so that our coastal communities have access to…all resources provided by the SBA to safely rebuild their homes in the event of a disaster. The Disaster Assistance Loans must be modernized to reflect the rising costs of homes across our communities.”

The bill has more than 30 backers including U.S. Reps. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., and Brian Mast, R-Fla.

Last week, the bill was sent to the U.S. House Small Business Committee, on which Salazar sits. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.


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