2022 Senate THUD Budget Bill Contains Major Disaster Recovery Reform

In a major win for disaster recovery advocates, the Senate Appropriations Committee’s 2022 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill includes the “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act.” The act would shorten the time it takes federal long-term disaster recovery funding to reach disaster survivors and help ensure funds reach those most in need of assistance after disasters. The bill is the top priority for the NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) – a group of over 850 local, state, and national organizations working to ensure that all disaster survivors receive the assistance they need to fully recover. The bill was introduced in July by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Todd Young (R-IN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Representative Al Green (D-TX).

The HUD-administered Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-DR) has been the only federal source of long-term disaster recovery funds since 1993. However, the program is not fully authorized by Congress, requiring HUD to rewrite program regulations each time funds are approved by Congress. As a result, funds take significant time to reach disaster-stricken areas, prolonging recovery efforts and adding to the hardship experienced by disaster survivors with low incomes. The Reforming Disaster Recovery Act would permanently authorize the program, allowing HUD to draft permanent regulations for the program, allowing states and localities to anticipate program requirements and ensuring funds reach disaster survivors more quickly.

The bill would provide important safeguards and tools to enable federal disaster recovery efforts to reach all impacted households, including the lowest-income and most marginalized survivors who are often hardest hit by disasters and have the fewest resources to recover. In addition, the bill would increase access to CDBG-DR-related data and would establish an Office of Disaster Management and Resiliency at HUD to coordinate with other federal agencies, develop best practices, and provide technical assistance and training to state and local agencies working with CDBG-DR funds.  Add your organization to a growing list of groups supporting this important bill!

Read a summary of the Senate THUD Bill at: https://bit.ly/3pt1ZQU

Read NLIHC’s fact sheet on the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act at: https://bit.ly/3E5NEho