Bennet, Cassidy, House Colleagues Reintroduce Tax Credit to Help Families and Small Businesses Prepare for Natural Disasters

Denver — U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) alongside U.S. Representatives Brittany Pettersen (D-Colo.), Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Carlos Giménez (R-Fla.), and Greg Steube (R-Fla.) reintroduced the Shelter Act. The bipartisan, bicameral legislation will provide a tax credit to working families and small businesses to invest in disaster mitigation improvements to protect their homes and property before disasters occur.

“Coloradans have become all too familiar with devastating extreme weather events and wildfires – but we can’t just focus on helping communities recover after these disasters. Congress needs to do more to help homeowners and renters prepare,” said Bennet. “This bill helps taxpayers invest in protection tools and materials to safeguard their homes, businesses, and families. I’m looking forward to working with my bipartisan colleagues to pass this bill.”  

“The best way to recover from a storm is to never flood at all,” said Cassidy. “Our bill assists families and business owners to better prepare for future storms by reducing their property’s risk of flooding.”

“In Colorado, wildfire season has become a year-round problem and extreme weather events continue to harm more communities every year,” said Pettersen. “While we’re fighting against the climate crisis on a number of fronts, one of the most important ways to make people safer right now is by protecting our homes and businesses before a disaster happens.” 

“Hurricane season is here,” said Salazar. “While disaster relief is critical after storms, we must be proactive in mitigating damage in advance. The Shelter Act will provide the right incentives for families to protect their homes and loved ones while also providing incentives to safeguard small businesses.”

“Far too many Californians know what it’s like to rebuild after losing everything to natural disasters like fires and mudslides,” said Peters. “While we will always stand with these people and help to make them whole again, we must do more to prevent these tragedies from happening in the first place. This lifesaving bill is a commonsense, bipartisan approach to encourage homeowners and businesses to invest in resilience measures and help offset some of those costs through a substantial tax credit.” 

“In the wake of Hurricane Ian, many Floridians who have just recovered are choosing to make home improvements to minimize damages during the next storm. I’m glad to co-sponsor legislation to provide a federal tax credit for these proactive mitigation expenditures. This legislation will encourage Americans in disaster-prone areas to better prepare their properties and contribute to shorter, less costly recoveries following future disasters,” said Steube.

Despite hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars spent on disaster recovery each year, there are currently no federal tax incentives to encourage families and businesses to plan ahead for disaster resilience and mitigation. The Shelter Act allows Americans to write off 25 percent of qualifying mitigation expenses up to $2,500 per taxpayer, from strengthening the durability of a roof to elevating a housing unit to reduce potential flood damage. 

“We know that wildfire mitigation works, and that the return on investment for property owners is greater than just about anything else they can do for their home. Removing technical and financial barriers for meaningful mitigation action is a sound investment on our collective future. However, individual out-of-pocket expenses for home retrofits and defensible space work can quickly add up to several thousand dollars. A federal tax credit of up to $2,500 for real cost associated with wildfire mitigation work will be a game changer for most homeowners in our Wildland Urban Interface. I support the Shelter Act, and believe it will be a valuable tool in building fire adapted communities,” said Eric Lovgren, Project Coordinator, Eagle County Wildfire Mitigation and Resilience Manager & REALFire.

“The Boulder County Board of Commissioners welcomes Senator Bennet’s Shelter Act, which will create opportunities for our community to receive federal tax credits as they choose to protect their homes and businesses before a natural disaster strikes. As our community continues to recover from the most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history and marks 10 years since the 2013 Colorado flood, we know firsthand the physical, emotional, and financial devastation caused by natural disasters. We appreciate Senator Bennet’s efforts to ease the financial burden our community faces as we work to build our community resilience,” said Marta Loachamin, Boulder County Commissioner.

“We have entered into a new era of climate-driven wildfires and the time to act is now. Thousands of homeowners are taking action to harden their homes before wildfires ignite, but we need to dramatically increase the pace and scale of our mitigation efforts in order to save billions of dollars of future home loss. A federal tax credit funded by the Shelter Act is the federal solution the country needs to address our increasing wildfire risk,” said Jim Webster, Boulder County Wildfire Mitigation Program Manager. 

“When it comes to natural disasters such as floods and wildfires, it is no longer a matter of if, but rather when they will happen. Lyons residents know the tragic impacts of both fire and flood. The Shelter Act mitigation tax credit will empower more community preparedness. We know flood and wildfire mitigation measures work to reduce or eliminate flood and wildfire risks. As a caring community where we help each other in times of need, we especially know this. Removing real financial barriers for residents and businesses who want to safeguard against future floods and wildfires is a good investment. And when neighbors help neighbors, that investment is sustained,” said Susannah Pedigo, Chair, Lyons Prepared.

"The National Association of REALTORS® applauds Senator Bennet for reintroducing the Shelter Act," said Kenny Parcell, President, National Association of Realtors. "A changing global climate continues to necessitate innovation in our nation's real estate industry. Policies incentivizing property owners to proactively manage climate risks are now more important than ever. NAR intends to continue working with Congress to reduce the financial burdens of this country's increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters." 

“Architects recognize that designing and implementing more resilience into buildings (ahead of natural disasters) saves dollars for home and business owners. More importantly, pre-disaster mitigation efforts save lives,” said Lakisha A. Woods, CAE, Executive Vice President/ Chief Executive Officer, American Institute of Architects. “The Shelter Act provides the financial support needed to assist building owners in especially high-risk areas make the upgrades necessary before a disaster occurs, to weather the next natural disaster.”

“At the National Institute of Building Sciences, we promote public and private incentives to facilitate the construction and retrofit of more resilient buildings and infrastructure,” said AC Powell, JD, CPS, President and CEO of National Institute of Building Sciences. “The Shelter Act is an important step, providing needed disaster mitigation investment through tax credits. We need to be proactive and prepared for natural disasters.” 

The text of the bill is available HERE. A summary of the bill is available HERE.