Facing onslaught of climate catastrophes, HUD announces two new disaster-related offices, plus $3.3 billion in CDBG funding

On March 15, 2023, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a much-needed overhaul of the agency’s disaster recovery efforts, to help communities recover and rebuild in the wake of weather-related disasters.

Based on the increasing number of climate-related disasters and the increasingly important role that HUD is playing in federal government’s preparedness, response, and recovery efforts, the Department announced the establishment of two new disaster-related offices.

The Office of Disaster Management (ODM) has been created in the Office of the Deputy Secretary, and the Office of Disaster Recovery (ODR) has been created in the Office of Community Planning and Development.

$3.3 billion in HUD grants to states and communities to assist with disaster recovery via Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Allocations.

The addition of dozens of new HUD staff members will help expedite recovery processes, as will the allocation of more than $3.3 billion in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds.

The allocated funds will help communities in Alaska, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Puerto Rico recover from disasters and build resilience, with a specific focus on low- and moderate-income populations.

The funds are specified to be used for economic revitalization, disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing and mitigation, in the most impacted and distressed areas.

These steps will streamline the agency’s disaster recovery and resilience work by increasing coordination, reducing bureaucracy, and increasing capacity to get recovery funding to communities more quickly by facilitating collaborative, transparent disaster recovery planning with communities earlier in the process.

HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge made the announcement today in Jackson, Kentucky, as the state received nearly $300 million.

The same day, HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman made the announcement in Ft. Myers, Florida, where, in September of 2022, Hurricane Ian became the 15th billion-dollar U.S. disaster in 2022, but not the last. Communities throughout Florida will receive over $2.7 billion from HUD statewide.

HUD is committed to helping underserved communities in hard-hit areas recover from disasters,” said HUD Secretary Fudge.

We know that far too often, not-so-privileged households bear the brunt of weather-related disasters. We will ensure they have access to the resources they need to rebuild and recover, equitably. Today’s announcement sends a strong message: equity is elemental to the disaster recovery work of HUD and the Biden-Harris Administration,” she added.

The announcement follows the first-time the Department has asked the public for 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).

Given the increased role as the lead federal agency for housing recovery and the impact of disasters on the Department’s portfolios, a pronounced need has emerged for enhanced coordination Department-wide, as well as with other federal, state, and local partners to assist impacted communities and families.

Over the last two decades, an increasing number of major disasters have impacted the nation and highlighted the importance of effective disaster management at the Federal, State and Local levels of government.

HUD plays an outsized role in preparing relocations of populations, addressing disaster related housing needs, supporting FEMA with evacuation, sheltering HUD assisted residents, developing interim housing solutions, and leading planning and supporting long-term, sustainable community recovery.

Equitable disaster recovery and resilience is a priority of HUD’s Climate Action Plan, which notes that the Department is committed to advancing the goals of Executive Order 13985. This requires HUD to allocate resources in a manner that equitably invests in underserved communities, particularly in communities of color.

Featured photo from NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey of damage in the Times Square district of Fort Myers Beach, Fla., after Category 4 Hurricane Ian struck the area. (Image credit: NOAA)

See 2021 announcement of HUD’s Climate Action Plan.

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