Hurricane Harvey survivor Pablo Garcia receives disaster assistance at his front door from Liana Bates-Hall, FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance (DSA) Crew Lead, and Lauren Cutler, right, FEMA Corps DSA Specialist, on Sept. 8, 2017, in Rockport, Texas. (Christopher Mardorf/FEMA)

Here’s How the Government Shutdown Affects the Federal Emergency Management Agency

Those applying for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the government shutdown can still apply, and the agency has resumed issuing flood insurance policies.

The move is a reversal of an unexpected and controversial ruling on Dec. 26 that would have frozen new or renewal flood insurance policies during the partial shutdown and impacted up to 40,000 home sales each month.

The National Association of Realtors thanked the agency for the reversal late last month.

“FEMA and the administration deserve credit for hearing our concerns and acting swiftly to address them,” NAR President John Smaby said in a statement. “This new decision means thousands of home sale transactions in communities across the country can go forward without interruption, as Congress intended when it renewed the flood insurance program.”

The partial government shutdown that began at midnight on Dec. 22 affects about a quarter of federal government functions, including agencies within the Department of Homeland Security. Now ending its second week, the shutdown has left thousands of federal employees without paychecks until Congress and the White House can reach a compromise on appropriations as President Trump demands $5 billion in border wall funding.

Of FEMA’s 19,631 employees, 15,208 must continue working without pay until an appropriations bill is passed and signed, according to a DHS directive released on Dec. 17.

Like most government websites, FEMA.gov is not being actively managed during the shutdown. People applying for disaster assistance can still do so on DisasterAssistance.gov, which remains fully operational.

More on the Government Shutdown: 

Multimedia journalist James Cullum has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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