HUD announces $1.7 billion in disaster assistance to Texas

HUD announces $1.7 billion in disaster assistance to Texas

FORT WORTH, TX – June 10, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced HUD is allocating $1,743,001,247 in disaster aid to help the State of Texas recover from Hurricanes Ike and Gustav. The emergency funding will support Texas’ long-term disaster recovery and is in addition to the $1.3 billion HUD allocated to the State last year through its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.

Last September, Congress appropriated more than $6 billion in supplemental funding for “necessary expenses related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure, housing and economic revitalization in areas affected by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters occurring during 2008.” There were 76 major disasters that occurred in 2008 in 35 States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These disasters included the Midwest floods, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, the California wildfires and flooding and tornados in Arkansas. HUD quickly allocated a third of this funding and today the Department is announcing the balance of this disaster recovery funding.

Of the 11 States that received these CDBG disaster funds (Texas, Louisiana, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida and California), Texas has received a total of $3 billion, the most of any State, and half of the entire $6 billion appropriation.

Donovan also announced that nearly $312 million is available to States that spend their existing funding on programs that reduce potential damages from future disasters. This Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund is designed to encourage States to design forward-thinking recovery plans that will reduce the risks of loss of life and to mitigate the extent of possible damage.

“These States are enduring tremendous hardships as they try to piece together their local communities following last year’s natural disasters,” said Donovan. “Our job is to support them in any way possible and to encourage them to take positive steps toward reducing the risk of catastrophe in the future.”

In determining the allocations announced today, HUD focused on two factors:

  • Combined unmet housing, infrastructure and business needs. This is each State’s relative share of these estimated unmet needs based on available data provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA); and,
  • Recovery Challenge Risk Level – HUD has estimated the relative level of recovery challenges confronting these States. To do this, HUD used information from the 2005 Hurricanes to estimate what factors predicted if a household would be displaced for an extended period of time and how long it takes for a neighborhood to recover. That analysis found that the extent of concentrated neighborhood damage and the severity of damage to particular properties are very good predictors for long-term vacancy.

Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund

HUD is creating a $312 million Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund to encourage States to undertake long-term disaster strategies that focus on reducing the risk of damage from future natural disasters. This fund is reserved for States that spend their CDBG funds on specific disaster recovery activities likely to reduce the extent of damage in the future. These projects may include:

  • Buyout payments for homeowners living in high-risk areas;
  • Optional relocation payments to encourage residents to move to safer locations;
  • Home improvement grants to reduce damage risks (property elevation, reinforced garage doors and windows, etc.);
  • Improving and enforcing building codes; and
  • Developing forward-thinking land-use plans that reduce development in high-risk areas.

Since 1992, HUD’s CDBG Program has allocated approximately $31 billion to support the long-term disaster recovery of state and local governments, as well as tribal governments.

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HUD is the nation’s housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.

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U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws.

Contact:

Brian Sullivan
(202) 708-0685

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