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Second Appeal Letter
PA ID# 071-U8M7N-00; Housing Authority of New Orleans
PW ID# Project Worksheet 9358; Permanent Roof Repairs
September 29, 2008
Colonel Thomas Kirkpatrick (Retired)
State Coordinating Officer
Governor’s Office of Homeland Security
and Emergency Preparedness
415 North 15th Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Re: Second Appeal–Housing Authority of New Orleans, PA ID 071-U8M7N-00
Permanent Roof Repairs, FEMA-1603-DR-LA, Project Worksheet (PW) 9358
Dear Colonel Kirkpatrick:
This is in response to your letter dated January 2, 2008, which transmitted the referenced second appeal on behalf of the Housing Authority of New Orleans (Applicant). The Applicant is appealing the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision denying reimbursement for the cost of permanent repair of roofs that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Following Hurricane Katrina, the Applicant completed permanent roof repairs to 354 buildings at seven residential complexes and other locations throughout the city. It requested $2,764,926 from FEMA for the repairs. FEMA denied the request because it determined that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has statutory authority to fund the repair of Public Housing Authority (PHA) facilities that were constructed under section 9(k) of the Housing Act of 1937, as amended. The Regional Administrator sustained this determination on first appeal.
The Applicant submitted its second appeal to the State in a letter dated November 26, 2007. In the second appeal, the Applicant acknowledges that it would be eligible for assistance under section 9(k) of the Housing Act. However, since HUD does not have any funds, the Applicant asserts that FEMA should provide reimbursement for the costs incurred to repair the roofs. FEMA’s Public Assistance Division Director and staff met with representatives of the Applicant on August 5, 2008, in Washington, D.C. to discuss the appeal. The Applicant stated that it believes that FEMA has more specific statutory authority than HUD to repair PHA facilities. It based this belief on the fact that HUD’s authority applies to all PHAs throughout the nation whereas FEMA is authorized to help communities recover from disasters. The Applicant’s facilities were damaged by the disaster. Congress appropriated funds to FEMA to support the disaster recovery activities in New Orleans. Therefore, FEMA is not statutorily barred from funding repairs to PHA facilities. Further, it stated that Congress has expressed its intent that FEMA should fund the repair of PHAs by recently repealing section 9(k).
There is no dispute that section 9(k) of the Housing Act of 1937 as amended, authorizes HUD to fund the repair of PHAs. If Congress does not appropriate funds to HUD to implement section 9(k), it is inappropriate for FEMA to supplement HUD’s appropriations by funding these activities. Although Congress repealed section 9(k) of the Housing Act in the Public Housing Disaster Relief Act of 2008, signed into law on July 30, 2008, the legislation applies to disasters declared after the date of enactment. It is not retroactive to Hurricane Katrina. When other Federal agencies have authority to provide disaster assistance, Public Assistance is not available for permanent repair of facilities and is limited to emergency work.
I have reviewed the information submitted with the appeal, including information discussed during the August 5th meeting, and have determined that the Regional Administrator’s decision in the first appeal is consistent with Public Assistance regulations and policies. Accordingly, I am denying the second appeal.
Please inform the Applicant of my determination. My determination constitutes the final decision in this matter pursuant to 44 CFR §206.206.
Carlos J. Castillo
Disaster Assistance Directorate
cc: William Peterson
FEMA Region VI
Louisiana Transition Recovery Office