121030-F-AL508-081c_Aerial_views_during_an_Army_search_and_rescue_mission_show_damage_from_Hurricane_Sandy_to_the_New_Jersey_coast,_Oct._30,_2012
Issue Background

FEMA Disaster Assistance

CAI believes FEMA inappropriately applies this standard to community associations by deeming that the services provided by associations are not "essential" or provided “to the general public.” 

For decades, community associations have been denied equal access to federal assistance to help in the recovery from major natural disasters. This disparity was most recently highlighted in the federal government’s response to Hurricane Sandy, but has been a long-term concern for CAI members. At the core of the issue is the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) and a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature and the role of community associations.

The Stafford Act allows for financial assistance to States, counties, municipalities, as well as eligible private nonprofit entities to offset the high cost of disaster response and recovery. FEMA has ruled that community associations are private organizations serving private property interests and do not "provide essential services of a government nature to the general public."