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Wyden to push FEMA on wildfire assistance denials

While the high rates of denial are on par with previous natural disasters, Wyden said the situation deserves more scrutiny.

Posted: Feb 17, 2021 10:59 AM
Updated: Feb 17, 2021 11:26 AM

EUGENE, Ore. – Sen. Ron Wyden said Wednesday he will pressure the Federal Emergency Management Agency for answers after an Oregon Public Broadcasting report revealed more than half of applications for wildfire assistance in the state were denied.

According to the report, about 14,000 Oregonians were denied aid after the devastating wildfires in 2020.

While the high rates of denial are on par with previous natural disasters, Wyden said the situation deserves more scrutiny.

“We all understand the need to prevent fraud, and FEMA has been concerned about that,” Wyden said. “But that (number) sounds way, way high."

RELATED: FEMA DENIES REQUEST FOR SOME TEMPORARY HOUSING OPTIONS FOR WILDFIRE SURVIVORS

Notably, it’s not the first time congressional leaders have had to appeal directly to FEMA executives to reconsider applications for aid.

Just last month, FEMA reversed course and granted a request for direct housing assistance for victims of the Holiday Farm Fire, only after intervention by Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio.

“I am concerned this pattern of making it harder than it certainly ought to be … is something that ought to be addressed,” Wyden said.

Are you a #HolidayFarmFire survivor who is struggling to receive FEMA assistance? You may be eligible for free legal...

Posted by Lane County Government on Wednesday, February 17, 2021

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