The Trump administration announced that houses of worship and other religious institutions could immediately apply for FEMA aid after a natural disaster strike in the future.
Furthermore, President Trump announced that the decision is retroactive to the middle of August 2017, the time when Hurricane Harvey hit in Texas.
FEMA’s new rules specifically state that “private nonprofit houses of worship will not be singled out for disfavored treatment within the community centers subcategory.”
The decision puts into effect an announcement by the US President, who stated on 9 September 2017 that: “Churches in Texas should be entitled to reimbursement from FEMA Relief Funds for helping victims of Hurricane Harvey (just like others).”
Religious leaders across the country reacted happily to the White House administration announcement, with the Orthodox Union stating: "We thank the Trump administration for righting this longtime wrong and treating disaster-damaged churches, synagogues and other houses of worship fairly, on the same terms as other nonprofits such as museums, community centers and libraries stricken by natural disaster."
The GOP was on the same line, thanking the President, with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise declaring: "I am grateful that President Trump has reversed the unfair policy that prevented houses of worship from accessing FEMA disaster relief funds,"
"Churches and other religious organizations should never be discriminated against when it comes to providing disaster relief, especially since they are often able to help disaster victims more quickly and cheaply than the federal government. I was pleased to see this policy change included in the recent disaster relief bill passed by the House, and am glad that FEMA has taken direct action to make this necessary change permanent.”