HUD released a Federal Register notice allocating nearly $6.875 billion in mitigation funding to multiple states recovering from 2015, 2016 and 2017 disasters. The funds were approved through a disaster supplemental appropriation act passed more than a year and a half ago, in February, 2018. The notice allocates funds to California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and West Virginia, but not to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).
Texas topped the list of states allocated mitigation funding, receiving more than $4 billion to assist in its recovery from Hurricane Harvey in late 2017. Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) members and partners in affected states have been eagerly awaiting this notice, which was required by statute to be released before September 4of this year. States must now draft Action Plans detailing the use of the funds. These plans will be sent to HUD for final approval.
The notice conspicuously includes no funding for Puerto Rico or the USVI. HUD announced in July that those funds would be dealt with separately due to HUD’s concerns regarding the islands’ capacity to administer the funds and the potential for misuse. Puerto Rico and USVI advocates have vigorously disputed that decision. The DHRC released a press statement calling on Congress to hold President Trump accountable for continuously leaving Puerto Rico and the USVI behind in the recovery.
“Hurricane season is well under way and still more than 300,000 homes are in need of repairs from storms that hit the island nearly two years ago,” stated Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The Trump administration’s continued efforts to withhold mitigation funds has prevented Puerto Ricans from making the investments needed to rebuild and prepare for future natural disasters. Every day of delay puts American lives at risk.”
Read the full text of the HUD notice at: https://bit.ly/2KOvWpM
Read the DHRC press statement at: https://bit.ly/2MEmAPn