FEMA requested our assistance in determining whether its preliminary proposal to provide permanent or semi-permanent housing construction to the Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is consistent with Federal statutes and regulations and FEMA guidelines. FEMA has begun disaster recovery efforts in response to a disaster declaration for severe storms, straight-line winds, and flooding that occurred in May 2015. In limited circumstances, section 408 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) grants the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the authority to provide individuals or households affected by a disaster permanent or semipermanent housing. However, to ensure the integrity of the Individual Assistance program, FEMA should adequately document the facts and circumstances that justify this decision. FEMA should also ensure that its proposed actions are the most cost-effective solution to the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s unique housing problems as compared to other alternatives.
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