2004 Regular Session
To: Veterans and Military Affairs
By: Senator(s) Carmichael, King
AN ACT TO CREATE THE INDIVIDUAL ASSISTANCE AND EMERGENCY TEMPORARY HOUSING ACT; TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS; TO PROVIDE THE GOVERNOR WITH THE POWER TO ACCEPT ASSISTANCE WHENEVER THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES HAS DECLARED AN EMERGENCY OR A MAJOR DISASTER; TO PROVIDE FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF GRANT PROGRAMS; TO PROVIDE FOR THE AMOUNT OF GRANTS; TO PROVIDE FOR A LIMITATION OF TIME FOR THE GOVERNOR TO REQUEST FEDERAL ASSISTANCE; TO AUTHORIZE FEDERAL AND STATE TEMPORARY HOUSING ASSISTANCE; TO PROVIDE FOR THE DESCRIPTION OF TEMPORARY HOUSING; TO PROVIDE CONDITIONS PRECEDENT FOR OBTAINING STATE TEMPORARY HOUSING PROGRAM ASSISTANCE; TO PROVIDE FOR PERIOD OF ELIGIBILITY FOR RECEIVING TEMPORARY HOUSING ASSISTANCE; TO REPEAL SECTIONS 43-41-1 THROUGH 43-41-15, SECTIONS 43-41-301 THROUGH 43-41-321 AND SECTION 43-41-505, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDE FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AND TEMPORARY HOUSING ASSISTANCE FOR DISASTER EMERGENCY VICTIMS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-201, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-201. Short Title.
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Individual Assistance and Emergency Temporary Housing Assistance Act."
SECTION 2. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-202, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-202. Legislative declaration of purpose.
It is the intent of the Legislature and declared to be the policy of the state that funds to meet emergencies or major disasters shall always be made available.
SECTION 3. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-203, Mississippi Code of 1972:
The following words wherever used in this article shall, unless a different meaning clearly appears from the context, have the following meanings:
(a) "Necessary expense" means the cost of an item or service essential to an individual, family or household to mitigate or overcome an adverse condition caused by an emergency or major disaster.
(b) "Serious need" means a requirement for an item or service essential to an individual, family or household to prevent or reduce hardship, injury or loss caused by an emergency or major disaster.
(c) "Family" means a social unit, comprised of husband and wife and dependents, if any, or a head of a household, as these terms are defined in the Internal Revenue Code of 1954.
(d) "Individual" means a person who is not a member of a family as defined in paragraph (c).
(e) "Household" means a dwelling containing a single family or single family and other relatives not otherwise considered family as defined in paragraph (c).
(f) "Assistance from other means" means aid, including monetary or in-kind contributions from other governmental programs, insurance, voluntary or charitable organizations or from any sources other than those of the individual, family or household.
(g) "The Act" means the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 93-288, as amended by PL 100-707 and PL 106-390).
(h) "Individuals and households program" means the federal assistance available to eligible individuals under a major disaster declaration by the president pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
(i) "Other Needs Assistance" means that component of the IHP program that provides a grant for individuals that requires the state share twenty-five percent (25%) of the total cost according to Section 408 of the Stafford Act (42 USC 5174).
(j) "Federal regulations" means those regulations published in the Federal Register relating to the specific subject.
(k) "Emergency" means any occasion or instance for which, in the determination of the Governor or President, federal assistance is needed to supplement state and local efforts and capabilities to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States.
(l) "State of emergency" means that a state of emergency has been declared by the Governor pursuant to Section 33-15-11(b)(17) to exist as a result of a man-made, technological or natural disaster and the local government has exhausted local resources and requires state assistance.
(m) "Federal assistance" means aid to disaster victims or state and local governments by federal agencies under the provisions of the Act.
(n) "Major disaster" means any hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, snowstorm, drought, fire, explosions, acts of terrorism or other man-made, technological or natural disaster or catastrophe in the State of Mississippi which, in the determination of the President, causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance under the Federal Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act and beyond emergency services of the state, local governments and disaster relief organizations in alleviating the damage, loss, hardship or suffering caused thereby.
(o) "Director" means the Director of Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, appointed pursuant to Section 33-15-7.
(p) "Governor's authorized representative" means the person appointed by the Governor to administer federal disaster assistance programs on behalf of the state and local governments and are responsible for the state compliance with the FEMA-State Agreement.
(q) "State coordinating officer" means the person appointed by the Governor to act in cooperation with the federal coordinating officer appointed under Section 303(c) of the Act.
(r) "Temporary housing program" means rental of existing housing, apartments or commercial lodging provided by assistance from state government either individually or jointly to individuals, families or households made homeless by emergency or major disaster.
(s) "Voluntary organization" means any chartered or otherwise duly recognized tax-exempt local, state or national organized group that has provided or may provide services to states, local governments or individuals in a major disaster or emergency.
SECTION 4. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-205, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-205. Presidential declaration of emergency; power of Governor to accept assistance.
Whenever the President of the United States, at the request of the Governor, has declared an emergency or a major disaster to exist in this state and the declaration includes Individual Assistance, the Governor is authorized:
(a) To accept a grant by the federal government, subject to such terms and conditions as may be imposed, including the required final audit by the State Auditor's Office, upon determination and with concurrence by the director that financial assistance is essential to meet disaster-related necessary expenses or serious needs of individuals, families or households adversely affected by a major disaster that cannot be otherwise adequately met from other means of assistance.
(b) To enter into an agreement with the federal government, or any officer or agency thereof, pledging the state to participate in the funding of the Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program authorized in the Act, in an amount not to exceed twenty-five percent (25%) thereof, and if state funds are not otherwise available to the Governor, to accept an advance of the state share from the federal government to be repaid when the state is able to do so when appropriated for that purpose.
SECTION 5. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-207, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-207. Filing request for federal assistance.
In order to make federal Individual Assistance and Other Needs Assistance available to major disaster victims under this article, the Governor must request such assistance from the President of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency must approve such a request and recommend the President of the United States make a major disaster declaration.
SECTION 6. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-209, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-209. Administration of grant programs.
(1) The director shall develop a plan for the administration and implementation of the Individuals and Households Program and Other Needs Assistance pursuant to subsections 408(e) and (f) of the Act to be included in the Mississippi Emergency Operations Plan (MEOP), and it shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Individuals, families or households who incur a necessary expense or serious need in the major disaster area may be eligible for assistance under this article without regard to their residency in the major disaster area or within the state.
(b) Individuals, families or households otherwise eligible for assistance under this article must obtain flood insurance as required by flood insurance regulations.
(2) Assistance under this article may be made available to meet necessary expense or serious needs by providing essential items or services that cannot be provided from other sources and except those covered by insurance as provided in current federal regulations.
(3) Under this article grants will not be made available for any item or service in the following categories:
(a) Business losses, including farm businesses.
(b) Improvement or additions to real or personal property.
(d) Real or person property used exclusively for recreations.
(e) Financial obligations incurred prior to the disaster.
(f) Any necessary expense or serious need or portion thereof for which assistance is available from other means but is refused by the individual, family or household.
(g) Should a case arise where it is determined that an individual, family or household has an expense or need not specifically identified as eligible; the state will provide a factual summary and forward it to the regional director, FEMA, for determination prior to making a state commitment.
(4) The director shall also develop a plan for administration and implementation of the Mississippi Temporary Housing Program (THP) to be included in the MEOP, and it shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Establishing emergency conditions that warrant program activation.
(b) Developing application procedures and applicant eligibility criteria.
(c) Verifying applicant certification process.
(d) Establishing grant award limits based on fair market rent rates as identified and published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
(e) Maintaining program progress and financial reporting and budget requirements.
SECTION 7. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-211, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-211. Amount of grants.
(1) In the case of a federally declared disaster, the state cost-share under this article shall be equal to twenty-five percent (25%) of the actual cost of implementing the Other Needs Assistance Program, and shall be made only on the condition that the federal government provides the remaining seventy-five percent (75%) of the ONA grant. In the event of a Governor's state of emergency declaration, the state grant under this article shall be equal to an amount established by the Director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
(2) An individual, family or household shall not receive a grant or grants under the provisions of this article aggregating more than the amount specified annually by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and published in the Federal Register with respect to any one (1) major disaster declared by the President. In the case of a federally declared disaster, such aggregate amount shall include both state and federal share of the grant. With respect to any one (1) disaster declared by the Governor's state of emergency, such amount of assistance shall not exceed an amount equal to one-half (1/2) of the amount of the Other Needs Assistance Program specified annually by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and published in the Federal Register and shall include the total amount of rental assistance provided an applicant under the Mississippi Temporary Housing Program.
SECTION 8. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-213, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-213. Limitations of time for requesting assistance.
(1) The time limitation for the Governor to request federal emergency or major disaster assistance shall be in accordance with current federal regulations.
(2) The time limitation for disaster applicants to request assistance and file applications under current federal regulations is sixty (60) days from the date of declaration of disaster by the President. The time limitation for applicants to request state rental assistance under the State Temporary Housing Program is thirty (30) days following the declaration of an emergency by the Governor.
SECTION 9. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-215, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-215. Federal temporary housing authorized; powers of Governor.
Whenever disaster conditions arise that affect the lives and safety of a substantial number of residents of the State of Mississippi and the governing authority of the political subdivision wherein said disaster conditions exist makes a request to the Governor for federal major disaster assistance, and the Governor requests, and the President of the United States declares an emergency or a major disaster to exist in this state, the Governor is authorized:
(a) To arrange with any agency of the United States to provide for temporary housing units to be occupied by disaster victims and to make such units available to any political subdivision of the state.
(b) To assist any political subdivision of this state which is the locus of temporary housing units for disaster victims by coordinating with any agency of the United States for such temporary housing to locate and prepare such sites to receive and utilize temporary housing units.
(c) Under such regulations as he shall prescribe, to temporarily suspend or modify for not to exceed sixty (60) days any public health, safety, zoning, transportation (within or across the state) or any other requirement of law or regulation within this state when, by proclamation, he deems such suspension or modification essential for any agency of the United States to provide temporary housing for disaster victims.
SECTION 10. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-217, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-217. State temporary housing authorized; powers of state and political subdivisions.
State Temporary Housing Assistance under this article may be made available to those victims of an emergency or localized disaster who, as a result of a state of emergency declared by the Governor, require temporary housing assistance for reasons including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) Physical damage to the dwelling to the extent that it has been rendered uninhabitable for a period of no less than three (3) days.
(b) The dwelling has been determined uninhabitable as a result of an authorized governmental entity requiring evacuations of an area though the structure may be unharmed. This does not include subsequent condemnations for redevelopment of an area following a disaster.
(c) Impeded access to the dwelling that cannot be quickly alleviated by debris removal even though the structure may be unharmed.
(d) Extended interruption of essential utilities sufficient to constitute a health hazard.
(e) Eviction from a residence by the owner because of the owner's perennial need for housing as a direct result of the disaster.
(f) Eviction from residence by owner because of a financial hardship that is a direct result of the disaster.
(g) Other circumstances which cause temporary housing to be required and which are approved by the director.
SECTION 11. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-219, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-219. Description of temporary housing.
Temporary housing shall be limited to minimum accommodations necessary for adequate housing for periods longer than that provided through the operation and use of community emergency shelters. Temporary housing accommodations may include, but not be limited to:
(a) Unoccupied, available housing of the United States when made available by the appropriate federal agency.
(b) Mobile homes, travel trailers or other readily fabricated dwellings provided by the appropriate federal agency.
(c) Rental properties when deemed by the appropriate federal agency to be the most economical means available.
(d) Rental properties and apartments or commercial lodging obtained with state temporary housing program grant proceeds.
SECTION 12. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-221, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-221. Conditions precedent for obtaining state temporary housing program assistance.
When temporary housing assistance is provided based on the guidelines outlined in Section 33-15-217, the following conditions are imposed:
(a) An applicant is expected to expend the grant proceeds to secure adequate temporary housing for purposes stated in their application for assistance. Refusal by the applicant to abide by this provision shall result in his forfeiture of eligibility for additional temporary housing assistance.
(b) Temporary housing assistance proceeds shall not be provided for nor expended for providing minimal home repairs or replacing lost or damaged personal property.
(c) Temporary housing assistance shall not be made available to those individuals, families or households with insurance coverage which provides full cost of alternate living arrangements except when, as determined by the appropriate authority, adequate alternate housing is not readily available or the receipt of insurance benefits are uncertain or inadequate to meet temporary housing needs. Individuals, families or households who qualify for and accept state assistance under the exception shall repay or pledge to repay to the state government, from any insurance proceeds for temporary housing to which they are entitled, an amount equivalent to the fair market value of the housing provided by the state. Temporary housing assistance shall not be made available to any individual, family or household for use as a vacation or recreational residence.
SECTION 13. The following shall be codified as Section 33-15-223, Mississippi Code of 1972:
33-15-223. Period of eligibility for receiving temporary housing assistance.
(1) The period of eligibility for any individual, family or household applicant receiving assistance under the State Temporary Housing Program shall be from one (1) to three (3) months determined on the basis of need. Each temporary housing applicant shall endeavor to place himself in adequate alternate housing at the earliest possible time during the period assistance is being provided.
(2) Each occupant's eligibility for continued assistance shall be recertified every thirty (30) days. Thereafter, provided no adequate alternate housing exists, assistance shall be continued for another thirty-day period, not to exceed ninety (90) days. All rental assistance is based on the fair market value of rental rates in the applicant's particular area according to the rate schedule published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
SECTION 14. Sections 43-41-1, 43-41-3, 43-41-5, 43-41-7, 43-41-9, 43-41-11, 43-41-13, 43-41-15, 43-41-301, 43-41-303, 43-41-305, 43-41-307, 43-41-309, 43-41-311, 43-41-313, 43-41-315, 43-41-317, 43-41-319, 43-41-321 and 43-41-505, Mississippi Code of 1972, which provide for financial and temporary housing assistance for disaster emergency victims, are hereby repealed.
SECTION 15. Sections 1 through 13 of this act shall be codified as Article 2, Chapter 15, Title 33, Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 16. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.