Final Rule Adds Natural Disaster Resilience and Broadband Access to ConPlan Regulations

HUD published a final rule amending the Consolidated Plan (ConPlan) regulations requiring jurisdictions to consider two additional concepts in their ConPlan efforts: the vulnerability to natural hazard risks of housing occupied by low and moderate income households and the availability of broadband access to low and moderate income households. A proposed rule was published for comment on May 18, 2016 (see Memo, 5/23/16).

The first addition to the ConPlan process requires jurisdictions to consider resilience to natural hazard risks in order to begin addressing impacts of climate change on low and moderate income residents. The rule requires local governments and states to consult with emergency management agencies and agencies responsible for managing flood prone areas, public land, or water resources. Jurisdictions must also encourage participation by these entities in implementing relevant components of the ConPlan.

The rule also requires jurisdictions to provide as part of their required housing market analysis an assessment of natural hazard risks to low and moderate income residents, including risks expected to increase due to climate change. The assessment should be based on an analysis of data, findings, and methods, with the jurisdiction citing a reputable source in the ConPlan.

Where low and moderate income communities are at risk of natural hazards, states and local governments must consider ways to incorporate appropriate hazard mitigation and resilience into their community planning and development goals, codes, and standards, including the use of HUD funds to accomplish these objectives.

The second change requires jurisdictions’ ConPlans to consider and describe the need for broadband access in housing occupied by low and moderate income households. Where broadband access is not available or only minimally available to low income residents, states and local jurisdictions must consider providing it when deciding how to invest HUD funds.

The final rule amends the ConPlan regulations by specifying that local governments and states must consult with public and private organizations, including broadband internet service providers and other organizations engaged in narrowing the digital divide. A jurisdiction’s public participation plan must encourage such organizations to participate in implementing any components of the plan designed to narrow the digital divide for low income residents.

The rule also requires each jurisdiction to describe broadband needs in housing occupied by low and moderate income households based on an analysis of data for its low and moderate income neighborhoods. These include the need for broadband wiring, for connection to broadband service in units, and for increased competition by having more than one broadband service provider serve the jurisdiction.

The final rule, published on December 16, 2016, is at:

More information about the ConPlan process is on page 7-21 of NLIHC’s 2016 Advocates’ Guide at: