The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced the allocation of nearly $3 billion in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to help communities recover from disasters and build inclusive resilience to climate change.
HUD is allocating $2.214 billion to 10 local governments and 13 state governments for 16 major disasters in 2021. HUD is also allocating an additional $722.7 million to five of the previously announced 2020 disaster recovery grants to reflect the higher level of need than previously calculated for disasters in those states.
“These disaster recovery funds will strengthen recovery efforts and improve long-term, inclusive resilience to future disasters and climate impacts,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Communities will have greater resources and focus to ensure equitable outcomes for underserved households that too often bear the brunt of climate-related disasters. With these funds, we are sending a strong message that equity and forward-looking mitigation are priorities of HUD and this administration’s disaster recovery work.”
HUD’s allocated funds will be dedicated toward the recovery from and used to build resilience to natural disasters, including climate disasters, with a specific focus on low- and moderate-income populations. The funds are specified to be used for: “disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing, economic revitalization, and mitigation, in the most impacted and distressed areas.”
“I contacted Secretary Fudge to personally thank her for this significant allocation that should provide Louisiana with an opportunity to implement a more effective, albeit late, recovery from Hurricanes Laura and Delta,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “I’m grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration for their commitment to helping our communities and those around the nation recover from the impacts of these devastating storms. In addition, Louisiana will receive $1.27 billion for recovery from Hurricane Ida and other 2021 disasters. However, the need is much greater, which everyone we have spoken with in Washington acknowledges. We will continue working to secure that additional funding.”
The state of Kentucky, plagued over the past two years by ice storms, flooding, and a Category 4 December tornado event that stayed on the ground for 200-plus miles, was one of the 13 states to receive HUD assistance as well.
“Thank you to Secretary Fudge and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the allocation of $74,953,000 additional dollars in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds to help Kentucky communities recover from disasters,” said Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. “After two years of devastating tornadoes, flooding and ice storms, we are looking forward to seeing how this funding can help make an impact in our long-term recovery efforts.”
With today’s allocations, HUD has now allocated the remaining funds of the $5 billion appropriated in Public Law No. 117-43 on September 30, 2021 (Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act) for CDBDG-DR funds. In November 2021, HUD allocated more than $2 billion in CDBG-DR for 2020 disasters. In January 2022, HUD opened access to those more than $2 billion, issuing a notice requiring all grantees to incorporate disaster mitigation measures into all recovery activities involving construction and to advance equitable distribution of the disaster recovery assistance. HUD’s notice underscored the agency’s commitment to ensuring that equity and forward-looking mitigation are prioritized in recovery activities.
Also receiving aid was New York City, as the region was impacted back in September 2021 by flooding because of Hurricane Ida. The New York City subway system, one of the region’s primary means of transportation, suffered $75 million in damages according to estimates. The City’s sewer systems were also overwhelmed as well from the after-effects of Hurricane Ida and kits massive amount of rainfall. Thirteen New Yorkers perished during Tropical Storm, with all but two of those who perished trapped inside flash-flooded basement apartments across the Five Boroughs.
This past November, HUD released its Climate Action Plan as part of the Biden Administration’s “whole of government” approach to confronting the climate crisis on multiple fronts. The Plan is a comprehensive strategy to reduce the agencies energy use and carbon footprint in the coming years. HUD’s Climate Action Plan notes that the Department is committed to advancing the goals of Executive Order 13985, which requires HUD to allocate resources in a manner that equitably invests in underserved communities, especially communities of color.