Agencies in both the U.S. Virgin Islands and Texas opened the period for public comment on proposed amendments to their State Action Plans for distributing Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds. These amendments will adjust plans previously approved by HUD. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will most likely be publishing an amendment to its State Action Plan in October after seeking public feedback through an online questionnaire.
The U.S. Virgin Islands received a total of $1.86 billion in CDBG-DR funds, and HUD has already approved an Action Plan for activities amounting to nearly $243 million. The U.S. Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority published on September 17 the proposed amendment, which pertains to an additional $779 million in activities. The public comment period for the amendment is open through October 16, and public meetings will take place on St. Croix on September 24, St. John on September 26, and St. Thomas on October 2. Additional details can be found in the U.S. Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority’s announcement, and the HUD requirements are available in the August 14, 2018 Federal Register.
The Texas General Land Office (GLO) released its proposed amendment to the Texas State Action Plan on September 6. A blog by Texas Housers states that, even with the proposed adjustments, the GLO’s proposal for distributing CDBG-DR funds will fail to meet the needs of residents in places like Port Arthur, TX. According to Texas Housers’ analysis and tracking of the Hurricane Harvey recovery in Texas, the methodology proposed by the GLO for calculating need and distributing funds to impacted residents underestimates the cost for recovery in low income communities. The Texas GLO estimates the cost of addressing additional unmet needs in Port Arthur at $12.9 million – less than half of the $28.2 million estimated by Texas Housers. The Texas GLO State Action Plan is open for public comment until 5:00 p.m. CT on October 6.