Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 208, the Superstorm Sandy Relief and Disaster Loan Program Improvement Act of 2015. The legislation included as a provision the same language as Cole’s previously introduced Tornado Family Safety Act.
Currently, the Small Business Administration (SBA) provides homeowners, renters and personal-property owners with low-interest loans to help recover from a disaster. Cole’s provision clarifies that SBA disaster loans can be used by homeowners for construction of safe room shelters within rebuilt homes.
“Whether it’s a hurricane in the northeast, wildfire on the west coast or a devastating tornado in my home state of Oklahoma, at some point every area of the country is susceptible to a natural disaster,” said Cole. “Not only is emergency preparedness critical for saving lives in the midst of disaster, but recovery and rebuilding efforts must be swift after disaster occurs. In Oklahoma, we are faced yearly with the risk and unpredictability of tornadoes that are capable of leaving neighborhoods unrecognizable and forcing communities to rebuild from nothing. For those who have suffered unbelievable losses from severe weather, particularly in Oklahoma, I believe that construction of safe room shelters can provide much-needed peace of mind when rebuilding. I am pleased that the legislation passed today ensures victims can use disaster loans for safe room construction.”