The House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing regarding HUD’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program on May 17. The hearing provided an opportunity for community stakeholders to express their perspectives on Subcommittee Chair Ann Wagner’s (R-MO) bill, the “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2018” (H.R. 1557). The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) previously submitted recommendations on this bill proposing to authorize CDBG-DR, which is currently administered through notices and guidelines published in the Federal Register.
Witnesses included representatives from the City of Houston, Harris County, and the Texas General Land Office, as well as Carlos Martín from Urban Institute and Marion Mollegen McFadden from Enterprise Community Partners, both members of the DHRC. All witnesses advocated for authorization of the CDBG-DR program, and several had important additional recommendations. Ms. McFadden advocated for a more streamlined application process for disaster survivors to eliminate duplication of benefits and ensure CDBG-DR funds are prioritized for the lowest income households. Rodney Ellis, Harris County commissioner, stressed the importance of the current requirement that 70% of CDBG-DR investments benefit households with low and moderate incomes; he also advocated for allowing the HUD secretary to lower that requirement to 50% if conclusive evidence is presented justifying that.
Representatives Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Joyce Beatty (D-OH) spoke about the impact disasters have on the supply of affordable housing generally. Representative Beatty cited NLIHC’s The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes report when asking witnesses how to ensure the proposed bill does not exacerbate the affordable housing crisis.
Learn more about the hearing at: https://bit.ly/2G7U0hR
Read DHRC’s recommendations for H.R. 1557 at: https://bit.ly/2GQ9ckO