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Dec 20 -- HUD has issued two RFIs regarding the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program.

1) Request for Information Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Formula
 
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) seeks public input on the methodology HUD uses to calculate Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) allocation amounts. This Request for Information (RFI) is to solicit feedback to inform how the Department can improve the allocation formula in the event Congress appropriates funds for CDBG-DR in the future. Comments are requested on or before February 21, 2023.  
 
Congress has periodically funded CDBG-DR grants through emergency appropriations acts since 1993. The CDBG-DR program is not authorized through standing statute, but instead was created through these emergency appropriations premised on the authorized Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. While the CDBG-DR grants are largely subject to the statutes and regulations governing the CDBG program, each appropriation act that makes CDBG-DR funds available imposes disaster-specific requirements and includes broad waiver and alternative requirement authority that enables the Secretary to adjust requirements to support resilient recovery for an individual disaster or a set of disasters.

One component of the overall process for CDBG-DR is the method for allocating the funds. With very few exceptions, HUD has allocated funds by formula because this method is the best way to satisfy statutory requirements. The language Congress uses in appropriations acts directing HUD to develop the formula and the formula itself have evolved over time. This evolution has depended on the type of disasters, the amount of funding available, policy priorities of different Administrations, and the data available immediately after a disaster to support a speedy and equitable allocation.

After each CDBG-DR formula allocation, HUD has published as an Appendix to the Federal Register Notice describing the methodology used to make the allocations. Those Notices are available at this website: https://www.hud.gov/​program_​offices/​comm_​planning/​cdbg-dr/​regulations.

This request for information is seeking comment on the current methodology as a way to inform future allocations if and when appropriations acts make additional CDBG-DR funds available. HUD seeks comment on the methodology and choice of data for the most recent 2021 formula allocations. HUD is seeking comments on several specific components of the formula. This section of the Notice describes each component and Section IV will refer back to these components in identifying the specific information requested in connection with each.

Component 1. Eligible Disasters for Funding  
Component 2. Basic Formula for Unmet Needs
Component 3. Methods for Estimating Serious Unmet Needs for Housing
Component 4. Methods for Estimating Serious Unmet Economic Revitalization Needs
Component 5. Methods for Estimating Unmet Infrastructure Needs
Component 6. Allocation Calculation
Component 7. Mitigation
Component 8. When Appropriations Are Less Than Calculated Unmet Needs
Component 9. Local Allocations
Component 10. Minimum Amount To Be Spent in Most Impacted and Distressed Areas
Component 11. Data Provided to CDBG-DR Grantees for Developing Action Plans

RFI: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-27548

2) Request for Information for HUD's Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Rules, Waivers, and Alternative Requirements
 
HUD seeks public input to strengthen and improve requirements for entities receiving and implementing CDBG-DR funding. This RFI is to solicit feedback to inform how the Department can modify, expand, streamline, or remove CDBG-DR rules and requirements with the goals of expediting long-term resilient recovery, reducing, or eliminating barriers for impacted beneficiaries, ensuring equitable community recovery, and simplifying compliance for CDBG-DR grantees within its statutory authority. Additionally, HUD seeks information and recommendations to reduce the administrative burden for those receiving and implementing CDBG-DR funding after a disaster to accelerate the availability of assistance to disaster survivors and affected communities. Comments are requested on or before February 21, 2023.  
 
The purpose of this RFI is to solicit feedback to inform how the Department can strengthen CDBG-DR requirements and to accelerate the availability of assistance to disaster survivors, consistent with the principles of the Administration as outlined in its FY2023 budget proposal in support of CDBG-DR authorization. HUD seeks information and recommendations to expedite long-term recovery, reduce or eliminate barriers, ensure equitable outcomes, and simplify compliance for CDBG-DR grantees within its statutory authority.

To expedite long-term recovery, Congress has historically authorized HUD to modify certain requirements by establishing waivers and alternative requirements, except for requirements related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor, and the environment. However, HUD may not waive or establish an alternative requirement on any provision established by an appropriations act. Therefore, HUD is most interested in proposed changes that are within its statutory authority provided by Public Law 117-43, the appropriations act that funded CDBG-DR assistance for 2020 and 2021 disasters. Comments that seek to identify statutory limitations that delay or hinder recovery are also welcome and HUD may submit these comments to Congress for consideration.

HUD encourages participation from disaster survivors, Federal, state, local, and Tribal governments, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector including small businesses, and other stakeholders (e.g., emergency managers; renters; homeowners; multifamily-housing owners; public-housing agencies; academic researchers; urban planners; engineers; fair housing professionals; disaster recovery professionals; and organizations that advocate for affordable housing, members of protected classes, vulnerable populations, and underserved communities).

While HUD welcomes comments on all issues associated with streamlining and accelerating the implementation of CDBG-DR funds, HUD is particularly interested in receiving information, data, analyses, and recommendations on the topics outlined below, which focus on changes that are generally within HUD's statutory authority. The appropriations acts typically authorize the Secretary to waive or specify alternative requirements for any provision of any statute or regulation that the Secretary administers of CDBG-DR funds, except for requirements related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and the environment. The list of questions below is a non-exhaustive list and is intended to assist commenters in formulating their responses. This list is not intended to limit the issues or topics that commenters may address. HUD has organized this list into a series of questions to solicit targeted feedback regarding specific topics. [questions posed under each heading]

1. Reducing Administrative Burden and Accelerating Recovery
2. Establishing Priorities
3. Understanding the Requirements for Most Impacted & Distressed (MID) Areas -- Currently, CDBG-DR appropriations acts require all funds to be used in a most impacted and distressed (MID) area resulting from a major disaster. Current rules attempt to balance requirements in the appropriations acts to make allocations to HUD-identified MID areas while also providing grantees with flexibility to capture additional areas that the grantee can determine is also a MID area, using data or information that is not available to HUD.
4. Developing the Action Plan
5. Advancing Equity
6. Incorporating Mitigation and Resilience Planning
7. Replacing Disaster-damaged Housing Units, Minimizing Displacement, and Incentivizing Affordable Housing Development -- Should CDBG-DR notices continue to waive and provide alternative requirements for the one-for-one replacement housing requirements at section 104(d)(2)(A)(i) and (ii) and (d)(3) (42 U.S.C. 5304(d)(2)(A)(i) and (i) and (d)(3)) of the HCDA and 24 CFR 42.375 for disaster-damaged owner-occupied lower-income dwelling units that meet the grantee's definition of “not suitable for rehabilitation?” To expedite recovery, HUD waives this requirement for disaster-damaged owner-occupied units that meet the grantee's definition for “not suitable for rehabilitation.” CDBG-DR grantees have the discretion to define “not suitable for rehabilitation,” but must include their definition in their action plan for disaster recovery.
8. Modifying Green and Resilient Building Codes and Standards
 
RFI: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-27547

3) HUD Seeking First-of-Its-Kind Public Input to More Equitably and Accurately Allocate Disaster Recovery Funds [press release]
Two new Requests for Information (RFIs) to mark inaugural feedback effort for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds

https://www.hud.gov/press/press_releases_media_advisories/hud_no_22_255

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