HUD opens access to $2B in climate, disaster resilience grants
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is opening up access to more than $2 billion in federal funds, with a goal of bolstering community resilience to disasters and the impacts of climate change, the agency announced on Monday.
“As our nation continues to grapple with disasters ranging from hurricanes to wildfires, HUD is aware of the urgent need for equitable recovery and resilience,” HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said in a statement.
HUD announced a set of guidelines for the use and “equitable distribution” of disaster recovery and mitigation funds, in a consolidated notice on “Allocations for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery,” published in the Federal Register on Monday.
Alongside the notice, HUD said that the agency will “accelerate community recovery and ensure that inclusive resilience and mitigation remain central to disaster recovery,” stressing that “low-income residents and people of color often bear more of the impact when climate-related disasters strike.”
Among the 130-page set of guidelines are specific requirements to which grant recipients must adhere, including the submission of an action plan that describes the uses of the funds, as well as how that plan will address “disaster-related impacts to infrastructure, housing, economic revitalization and mitigation in the [most impacted and distressed] areas.”
At least 80 percent of all allocations distributed to each grantee must respond to “unmet disaster needs or mitigation activities” in such distressed areas as defined by HUD, while the remaining 20 percent can go toward disaster needs or mitigation activities identified by the grantee, the notice stated.
The notice applies to more than $2 billion of a $5 billion total appropriated by HUD as “Community Development Block Grants” this fall, according to the department.
HUD allocated the first $2 billion of these grants to 10 states covering 15 separate major disasters that occurred in 2020 in November, following the signing of the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which became law on September 30.
The largest chunk of the $2 billion is going to Louisiana, which will receive $600 million for two disasters, while Oregon is getting $422 million for one incident, according to Monday’s notice. Alabama is receiving $312 million for two disasters, and California is receiving $231 million for two such events. Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and Tennessee are also receiving allocations.
Among the disasters covered are hurricanes in Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi; wildfires in Oregon and California; earthquakes and a tropical storm Puerto Rico; and severe storms in Tennessee, Iowa and Michigan, a news release from November said.
Monday’s announcement serves to affirm HUD’s commitment to ensuring climate and equity goals while spurring economic growth — recognizing that “equitable resilience” is a core component of its Climate Action Plan and overall departmental goals of achieving environmental justice, according to the department.
“HUD’s consolidated notice ensures that climate justice and racial equity remain central in our work to deliver swift recovery and keep resiliency at the forefront,” Fudge said in a statement. “The department looks forward to continuing to work with communities so that they can get their disaster recovery and mitigation funds as quickly as possible.”