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‘It’s a slap in the face’: Residents angered by FEMA’s no-aid drywall decision

By Staff | Mar 20, 2010

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied a request from Gov. Charlie Crist asking for aid to homeowners whose homes were built using defective drywall.
That leaves homeowners like Richard and Patti Kampf of Cape Coral with even fewer resources to fix their house, which was built using drywall imported from China.
The Kampfs have been leading the charge locally to try and fix not only their home, but anyone’s home that was constructed using defective drywall.
Richard Kampf has testified before Congress on the issue, and has had senators tour his home.
“It’s a slap in the face,” Kampf said of the decision. “All they did was turn and point fingers.”
In a letter to David Halstead, Florida’s emergency management interim director, FEMA’s regional administrator Major P. May wrote, “Conditions experienced by individuals from a consumer product safety matter … does not constitute an emergency or major disaster incident, as contemplated under the Stafford Act.”
The Stafford Act gives FEMA the power to provide relief to disaster strewn areas.
FEMA says that drywall does not fit the act, adding that HUD, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or Environmental Protection Agency should provide support.
Although Cape Coral receives HUD funds, the amount, $700,000, is not enough to fix many homes, especially since 60 percent of the kitty is already spoken for.
“If the stars completely lined up, it would only be enough to fix two moons,” Kampf said of the HUD funds.
Kampf has said the defective drywall is akin to a natural disaster laying waste to an area, though it has been quiet.
Kampf personally asked Crist to declare an emergency, which he did, but it has not been enough to open the FEMA funding floodgates.
Kampf also asked Crist to write President Obama, asking him to declare an emergency, but he has yet to do that.
As solutions keep coming up short for Kampf, he said he’s still as determined than ever to find a solution.
“We’re not going to throw our hands up,” he said.