Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

Topics in Disaster Recovery: HUD Allocates $12 Billion in CDBG-DR Funds and $16 Billion in Mitigation Funds for 2017 Disasters

This is the fourth post in a series dedicated to exploring topics in disaster recovery relevant to communities recovering from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Disaster Discourse team discusses the recent HUD allocation and its impact on recovery efforts. You can learn more about how Hagerty Consulting can help you structure your recovery here.

On April 10th, 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $28 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding to support long-term recovery efforts across the nation. It was the largest amount of CDBG-DR funding provided by HUD in a single allocation. While areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria received the largest allocation of the funding, 11 grantees affected by events from 2015 to 2017 are receiving funds to make communities, homes, and businesses more resilient from hurricanes, flooding, and wildfire events. HUD awarded the funding in two segments: (1) $12 billion targeted to further assist areas impacted by 2017 events, and (2) For the first time HUD has provided $15.9 billion specifically for “mitigation” efforts, which will result in communities and structures being made more resilient to future storm events.

Disaster YearCDBG-DR Awards for Remaining 2017 Unmet NeedsCDBG-DR Awards for MitigationTotals Awarded by Year
2017$12,030,484,000$13,840,384,000$25,870,868,000
2016$0$1,809,591,000$1,809,591,000
2015$0$284,541,000$284,541,000
Totals$12,030,484,000$15,934,516,000$27,965,000,000

Table: 2018 HUD Allocations, in millions, per April 10th award data

For decades, HUD has worked with grantees across the nation to ensure that “mitigation and resiliency” are incorporated into CDBG-DR projects and specific HUD funded competitions have been designed to advance resiliency and mitigation efforts across the nation, Rebuild by Design and National Disaster Resilience Competition. However, this is the first time that HUD has specifically provided “mitigation awards.” While the technical aspects of how HUD will define mitigation and what types of mitigation projects will be allowed have not been published, the HUD Mitigation funds are expected to compliment and augment FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Grantees receiving mitigation funds that are used in coordination with FEMA funds, should result in safer and more resilient areas across the nation.

Recommendations for Successful Administration of CDBG-DR Funding:

This allocation brings substantial opportunity to improve communities facing recoveries from the last three years of major disasters. The Hagerty team has the following recommendations for communities that may receive funding for mitigation and recovery:

  • Be mindful of procedural requirements – HUD will release additional guidelines for this allocation in the near future which are critical to both the State and the communities’ success. States should urge HUD’s publication of these guidelines in order to begin utilizing these funds within regulatory timelines.
  • Discuss mitigation funding allocation with respective state representatives – Each State decides which communities will receive mitigation funds and the amount of these disbursements. It is essential for local jurisdictions to immediately coordinate with their State CDBG-DR representatives to address needs, application processes, timelines, etc.
  • Understand applicability for traditional FEMA 404 HMGP funds – States and communities should in fact be considering how to coordinate using the separate mitigation allocations to maximize funding and project opportunity. With planning, communities may also be able to utilize FEMA HMGP funds, “layered” with HUD mitigation funds, to advance additional HMGP projects. If done properly, HUD CDBG-DR funding may also be utilized to fund the “Local Cost Share” of FEMA 404 and 406 grants through the “Global Match” or “Coordinated Match” opportunities.
    • The illustration below is one example of how funding could be combined and layered from FEMA’s Section 404 and 406 funding along with HUD’s mitigation and CDBG-DR funding to maximize mitigation projects. In the illustration, the boiler was damaged, but the electrical annex was not. Still, both the boiler and electrical annex are vulnerable in a future flood event and, therefore, should be elevated. Under this scenario, a Grantee or Subrecipient can develop a policy argument and grants package to combine FEMA Section 404 and 406 funding, as well as HUD mitigation to address both needs. This way, vulnerable public facilities can be made more resilient, regardless of their existing flood damage. Moreover, a Grantee can apply to use CDBG-DR funds to fund the local cost share of mitigation projects.
Figure Layering Federal Grant Funding Sources to Maximize Mitigation Opportunities
  • Get help – This process can be labor intense, highly complex, and result in adverse audit findings or federal “claw back” of funding. The HUD CDBG-DR program includes Project Management funding to assist and facilitate the management and administration of these funds, projects, etc. by professionals who are experienced with comprehensive disaster recovery programs (as does FEMA through Direct Administrative Costs (DAC) reimbursement).

Overall, with another hurricane season on the horizon, HUD strategically disbursed both CDBG-DR and mitigation funds to specific communities affected by disasters in 2015, 2016, and 2017. This record-breaking award gives communities the opportunity to maximize their current recoveries and mitigate to minimize the impact of potential future disasters.

 


Kris Van Orsdel (KVO) a Recovery Program Manager with Hagerty Consulting. He brings more than a decade of direct implementation, program design and technical experience to Hagerty. He is one of the leading experts in knowing how to develop, implement, and use HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to address community recovery needs following disasters. Having developed innovative federally approved programs that utilize CDBG-DR funds with EPA, FEMA, FHWA, NOAA and USDA recovery funds, Kris has been asked by Federal agencies to provide guidance to newly impacted governments after events. Beginning with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, where he worked for Louisiana Recovery Authority, he has helped states and local governments develop recovery program to address the impacts from Gustav and Ike, the BP Oil Spill, Superstorm Sandy, and Hurricane Matthew. Prior to joining Hagerty he served as the Managing Director of the Infrastructure and Local Government Program within the New York Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.

Moneka Singh Jani is a Disaster Recovery Consultant supporting projects in both the Recovery and Preparedness Divisions of Hagerty Consulting. Moneka has a master’s degree in Biodefense from George Mason University, a bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science from New York University, and an Emergency Medical Technician license from the City of Fairfax, Virginia. In her spare time, Moneka writes screenplays and participates in social activism.