Emergency Management Legislative Agenda for the 112th Congress (2011-2012)

Recent natural, public health and man-made disasters continue to demonstrate that preparedness and relief and recovery efforts remain critically inadequate with regard to people with disabilities.  People with disabilities still disproportionately represent those who remain uprooted and at risk in communities around the country, as well as on the Gulf Coast. While significant legislative action to address the situation of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness and relief efforts has taken place, much remains to be done.  Furthermore, the legislative progress that was achieved must be built upon. 

The 112th Congress should build on the progress made in addressing the needs of the disability community in emergency preparedness and response efforts by:

  • Conducting oversight (e.g., hearings, reports) of existing laws to document progress to date, address the needs of people with disabilities in emergency preparedness and response efforts, and address continuing failures and challenges and  make recommendations for improvement;

  • Passing additional legislation that will:
    • Require fully accessible temporary and long-term relief housing of at least 10% of available or developed housing resources;
    • Ensure that general shelters are accessible to people with disabilities and that medical shelters are used only in cases of extreme need;
    • Exclude institutionalization as a solution to housing needs for people with disabilities, except in a dire emergency and for an extremely short period of time;
    • Provide specific disability-related service coordination (case management) for longer periods of time;
    • Provide specifically for mental health and substance abuse services related to disasters and emergencies;
    • Provide for legal services offered by legal experts with special training in disability rights and other disability law;
    • Increase support for regional disability coordinators;
    • Develop resources and training for first responders and other personnel in the functional needs of people with disabilities and their families; and
    • Provide that direct support professionals are considered “essential personnel” in emergency preparedness plans and response;
  • Assuring that all federal agencies, federally contracted entities, and other relevant organizations are accountable for developing and participating in coordinated approaches to disaster and emergency preparedness that are efficient and non-duplicative and address the needs of people with disabilities; and

  • Appropriating and targeting adequate resources throughout the U.S. to coordinate state and local efforts specifically to ensure the effective involvement of people with disabilities and their representatives in disaster and emergency preparedness efforts.

Legislative Agenda Partners

We are national organizations that serve and advocate for people with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities. We work together to shape, expand, and protect a strong federal role that provides vital benefits, services and supports and assures civil rights for our constituency.