Responding to two requests for information from HUD, on February 21 HAC submitted comments on some of the specifically rural concerns involved in using the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program.
The program does not receive regular annual funding in HUD’s appropriations bills. Instead, Congress provides funds to help with recovery from specific disasters after they occur. As a result, HUD has not been able to write regulations for the program. The department is now developing a “Universal Notice” that would standardize the CDBG-DR allocation and implementation process. HUD asked for input on the program’s rules and waivers and on its allocation formula. HAC combined its responses and submitted one letter.
- To make CDBG-DR most effective in rural and Tribal areas, HUD must build local capacity itself, or require state grantees to do so.
- To achieve geographic equity in the distribution of CDBG-DR resources, HUD must account for the difficulties of appraising rural properties, as well as for a variety of nontraditional housing and nontraditional forms of ownership that are common in rural places.
- HUD, FEMA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other agencies involved in the disaster recovery process should develop a single set of standardized forms and templates for applicants to use.