In the wake of Hurricane Michael, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have sent an letter to state and local emergency management agencies informing them of the importance of complying with federal civil rights and non-discrimination laws while providing emergency relief, and offering resources on the topic.
Specifically, the letter states:
“Incorporating the needs of diverse populations, people with disabilities, and those with limited English proficiency into such planning is critical to ensuring that entire communities are prepared for, and can respond effectively to, emergencies.
With these principles in mind, the Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (DHS CRCL) and the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division (DOJ) are committed to supporting the emergency-management operations of state and local governments.
We look forward to working collaboratively to support your frontline efforts to ensure nondiscrimination in the provision of emergency and disaster-relief services, benefits, and activities. DHS and DOJ are both responsible for helping state and local governments comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin (including limited English proficiency) in federally assisted programs and activities; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits disability discrimination in federally assisted programs and activities; and other civil rights authorities. DHS CRCL in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Office of Equal Rights will lead this work in DHS. DHS and DOJ are available to provide technical assistance, outreach, and training to help you understand and meet your responsibilities when provided federal funding under federal civil rights laws.”
This letter and other emergency preparedness resources are available on ANCOR’s Disaster Relief Page. If you know of other resources that could be of use to providers affected by natural disasters and other such emergencies, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share them.