FEMA (Disaster Assistance)
As a national leader in ensuring that public benefits programs for low income individuals are administered fairly and in compliance with the law, NCLEJ responded when, in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, FEMA administered disaster assistance programs in a manner that denied benefits to many eligible individuals, provided inadequate notice of rights, and provided an inadequate opportunity to appeal decisions denying assistance.
As a leader in ensuring that public benefits programs provide meaningful access to people with disabilities and an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs and services, NCLEJ sued FEMA when the agency failed to provide accessible temporary housing to people with disabilities displaced by Katrina and Rita. The lawsuit was settled successfully, and thousands of people with disabilities obtained accessible trailers as a result.
NCLEJ filed a civil rights complaint on behalf of deaf evacuees who were unable to communicate with FEMA effectively by telephone, which led to improved policies and staff training. More recently, we have been working to ensure that FEMA has adequate temporary housing policies in place to meet the needs of people with disabilities and others in future disasters.
Highlights of NCLEJ Advocacy: