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FEMA Should Help Chinese Drywall Victims, Senators Say

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Four U.S Senators – Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fl., Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.,  Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and  Sen Jim Webb, D-Va. -  have written to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) seeking help for victims of the  Chinese drywall crisis

The Senators represent the three states hardest hit by the Chinese drywall crisis.  According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), it has received 1,103 complaints from Florida homeowners, 249 from Louisiana and 51 from Virginia. 

In a letter sent yesterday,the Senators asked FEMA Craig Fugate administrator to investigate whether it can provide assistance to Chinese drywall homeowners. “Families in our states are … watching their dream homes turn into nightmares,” the Senators wrote. “We believe it is important to marshal all appropriate Federal resources that may assist these families.”

The letter  asks “Whether FEMA — following a written request from a governor who has declared a disaster or emergency — may offer rental assistance, if homes, businesses or a combination of the two, have sustained uninsured losses.”

FEMA generally provides such assistance following natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods.  But the Senators’ letter cites two instances where the agency did provide such help in non-natural disasters.

The Senators’ letter asks that FEMA respond to their request by November 7.

According to the CPSC, it has received about 1,501 reports from residents in 27 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico who believe their health symptoms or the corrosion of metal components in their homes are related to the presence of Chinese drywall. Many homes with Chinese drywall are unlivable, and some homeowners have been driven to the point of bankruptcy.

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