|On February 9, HUD published in the Federal Register a notice allocating and providing guidance on the use of $7.39 billion in Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to certain states and territories impacted by the 2017 hurricanes. These funds were appropriated by Congress as part of a disaster aid package enacted September 8, 2017. In addition to announcing the allocations, the notice describes applicable waivers and alternative requirements, relevant statutory provisions for the CDBG-DR grants provided under the notice, the grant award process, criteria for action plan approval, and eligible disaster recovery activities.
The applicable disaster aid legislation provided $7.4 billion for CDBG-DR; however, HUD is reserving $10 million for the agency’s administrative costs, leaving $7.39 billion for states and territories. Based on the agency’s review of the impact from eligible disasters and estimates of unmet need, HUD is awarding CDBG-DR funds as follows:
- Texas: $5,024,215,000
- Florida: $615,922,000
- Puerto Rico: $1,507,179,000
- U.S. Virgin Islands: $242,684,000
As part of its review, HUD identified the most impacted and distressed areas in these states and territories based on its best available data (see Table 1 for the full list of areas). According to the notice, Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico must allocate at least 80 percent of their total funds to address unmet disaster needs within these identified areas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands must use 100 percent in these identified areas. Grantees, other than the U.S. Virgin Islands, may determine where to use the remaining 20 percent of the allocation, but that portion may only be used to address unmet disaster needs in those areas that the State determines are "most impacted and distressed" and received a presidential major disaster declaration pursuant to the disasters covered under this notice. Grantees may use up to 5 percent of the total grant award for grant administration.
Grantees will be required to submit to HUD a plan detailing the proposed use of all funds, including criteria for eligibility, and how the use of these funds will address long-term recovery and restoration of infrastructure, housing, and economic revitalization in the most impacted and distressed areas. To inform these plans, grantees must develop a citizen participation plan.
The disaster aid legislation appropriating these CDBG-DR funds also provides that the HUD Secretary may waive or specify alternative requirements for any statutory or regulatory requirements for these funds except for those related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and the environment. The notice details several waivers and alternative requirements already approved by the Secretary, including one that would shorten the citizen participation comment period required for the CDBG-DR to no less than 14 days. Waivers and alternative requirements in this notice will be applicable starting February 14, 2018. Grantees may also request additional waivers and alternative requirements from the Department as needed to address specific needs related to their recovery activities, accompanied by data to support the request.