WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. James Lankford, along with a group of Republican Senators, introduced the Federal Disaster Assistance Nonprofit Fairness Act yesterday. If enacted, the Act would make houses of worship eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance program grants.
"In June, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of Trinity Lutheran that 'the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution all the same, and cannot stand…' Likewise, houses of worship that serve our communities and are impacted by natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, should not be disqualified from disaster assistance simply because they are religious in nature," said Sen. Lankford. "They should be able to apply for these grants just like other entities."
Under the Stafford Act, houses of worship are ineligible for FEMA Public Assistance program grants, which provide funding for the repair, reconstruction, or replacement of private nonprofit facilities.