As we watch news of the devastation inflicted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and the massive flooding our own state witnessed last summer, it’s clear that cleanup from these storms will take many years. Lives have been lost, property has been damaged, communities have been torn apart. As we rebuild our schools, parks, homes and lives, it’s time for Congress to do their own work to build policies that better supports communities who are hit year after year by these devastating floods.
One of things that is troubling, in the wake of these storms, is that many people were not aware of the risk they might face when they moved in. Some states mandate flood-risk disclosure for new homebuyers and renters - so they know if they need flood insurance, if they are moving into a floodplain, if the home has flood damage or if previous owners made a flood insurance claim.
Unfortunately many states do not have any warning system in place, so many folks are moving into homes and then completely blindsided once the flood waters begin to rise. This is simply immoral and it’s hurting families. The time has come for a common sense nationwide law that gives new homebuyers and renters all of the information they need to be safe and well prepared.
The problems of flooding are on the rise, and the damage is sure to increase. But Congress has it in their hands to help solve an important piece to this puzzle by including flood-risk disclosure this December in their required reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program. Let’s hope they can get it done.
Jake Johnson, Madison