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Balch's Mark Bond & Susan Scaggs Author Article for Bloomberg Law on Equitable Disaster Relief and New FEMA Guidelines

Published by Bloomberg Law on October 5, 2021, Mark Bond, partner in the firm’s Gulfport MS office and member of the Real Estate Practice, co-authored the article “Creating Equitable Disaster Relief for Low-Income Families” along with Susan Scaggs, member of the firm’s Environmental & Natural Resources Practice. 

In the article, Mark and Susan highlight data that indicates low-to-median income families as well as people of color suffer greater impacts from natural disasters than most other groups. 

For example, the article notes that low-to-median income disaster relief applicants face obstacles with ownership verification in instances where a home passes by inheritance from a grandparent or next of kin, but the legal title is never perfected by deed or other legal instrument such as a judicial estate or succession proceeding. 

Mark and Susan also address new FEMA Policy guidelines making it easier for those affected by a natural disaster to receive federal aid. The new policies will allow for a broader range of documents to satisfy this requirement, including receipts for major home repairs and self-certification of ownership. FEMA also will be able to waive the verification requirements for applicants who have verified occupancy or home ownership within the past two years.

Mark Bond counsels clients on a vast array of real estate related issues. His experience extends to the representation of electric utilities, financial institutions, developers, and corporate clients for commercial closings. He also provides representation to state agencies and governmental authorities in matters pertaining to public procurement and corporate governance.  

Susan Scaggs works on a variety of environmental matters for institutional, private, and agency clients. She focuses on water law issues, but has worked on matters including compliance and permitting under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.