South Texas residents fight for transparency in lawsuit against FEMA
The Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc., filled a federal lawsuit Thursday against the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to a news release from the TRLA .
The non-profit organization La Union Del Pueblo Entero, or LUPE, along with 26 other plaintiffs sued the agency for lack of transparency, according to the news release.
The news release reads in part:
"The lawsuit seeks to prevent FEMA from continuing to use secret rules to decide disaster assistance applications in violation of Congressional mandates in effect since October 15, 2002."
The groups claims that FEMA does not publicly publish its guidelines regarding the approval process for individuals who need assistance following a natural disaster.
"We are seeking FEMA to bring transparency and accountability as well as fairness," said LUPE representative John-Michael Torres.
Linley Boone-Almaguer, one of the attorneys supporting the plaintiffs, said FEMA inspectors are not properly trained and fail to report the real extent of the damage inside the homes they visit.
Guadalupe Perez, one of the plaintiffs on the case who was affected by severe storms in the Texas Rio Grande Valley, said that although he has substantial damage in his home, FEMA declined him help with the repairs.
Perez is hopeful that the lawsuit will dim a light on the regulations FEMA abides by to better understand why he was denied.
This is the second time FEMA faces a lawsuit filed by the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc.