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HUD Seeks Public Input on Allocation of Disaster Recovery Funds

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued two new Requests for Information (RFIs), marking the first time HUD has asked for public feedback on how to simplify, modernize, and more equitably distribute critical disaster recovery funds: Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) and Mitigation (CDBG-MIT).

The RFIs mark a broader element of HUD’s newly published Climate Action Plan, which emphasizes both equity and resilience in disaster recovery, as well as the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to strengthening low- and moderate-income communities.

“Having visited the damage of Hurricanes Ian and Ida, I have seen firsthand how weather-related disasters harm communities unequally,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “Here at HUD, we know that investing in equity and resilience presents us an opportunity to meet our climate goals and build more stable, diverse, and inclusive communities with quality affordable homes for all. These RFIs are the next step in our process to ensure recovery resources can be delivered more efficiently and equitably in the future.”

The latest estimates from CoreLogic of the damage and loss totals from Hurricane Ian found that total flood and wind losses will total between $41 billion and $70 billion. This estimate includes wind loss, re-evaluated insured and uninsured storm surge loss and newly calculated inland flood loss for residential and commercial properties. Hurricane Ian, to date, is the costliest Florida storm since Hurricane Andrew made landfall in 1992.

“The first step in strengthening the CDBG-DR program is, for the very first time, seeking feedback on what data and information HUD should use in assessing the need for assistance and making funding available,” said Solomon Greene, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. “I am proud that the Biden-Harris Administration is asking the public to share thoughts with us. Other HUD programs benefit from public comments, and I expect that recommendations in response to this RFI will inform how HUD makes future allocations.”

CDBG-DR and CDBG-MIT funds focus on long-term recovery and resilience efforts, targeted to families with low- and moderate-incomes in the most impacted and distressed areas. Through CDBG-DR, HUD spends billions of dollars helping communities recover from the most devastating disasters. CDBG-DR and CDBG-MIT funds are unique from other Federal disaster assistance programs administered by FEMA and the SBA, as well as private insurance, as the only federal resource with the primary purpose of benefitting low- and moderate-income communities.

“Through CDBG-DR funding, we can provide critical support to disaster recovery survivors who need it most,” said Marion Mollegen McFadden, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development. “Only HUD offers disaster resources that prioritize the needs of people of modest means. Unfortunately, the one-off appropriation process delays local access to these funds by months, confusing grantees, producing unnecessary barriers to participation in recovery programs, and thus dulling the effects of our efforts. It’s time we right these wrongs by streamlining how these funds are disseminated–while doubling down on our responsibility to ensure equitable outcomes.”

HUD’s Climate Action Plan notes that the Department is committed to advancing the goals of Executive Order 13985, which requires that HUD allocate resources in a manner that addresses the historic failure of the government to invest sufficiently, justly, and equally in underserved communities, particularly communities of color.

These RFIs are a result of both this long-term strategy and the greater efforts of the Biden-Harris administration to prioritize an equitable and methodical response to Presidentially-declared natural disasters.

About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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