NLIHC Sends Letter to HUD after Listening Session on Long-Term Disaster Recovery

NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel sent a letter to HUD on November 5 regarding the pending release of new agency policy regarding long-term recovery funding. HUD’s Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program is the only source for federal long-term disaster recovery and mitigation funds. The scope of these changes, broadly referenced in HUD’s recently released Climate Adaption and Resiliency Plan, deal with resiliency and mitigation, public participation, targeting of funds to historically marginalized communities, and other subjects. HUD plans to issue the new policy to cover CDBG-DR funds approved in October and apply the changes to funds that Congress may approve in the future.

HUD held a closed listening session on the subject for national organizations to pinpoint issues with the CDBG-DR program. At the listening session, HUD announced that it would be releasing a request for information in the Federal Register, allowing interested stakeholders to highlight issues they have experienced with the CDBG-DR program. The request for information will not likely include a draft of the proposed policies included, raising concerns about the effectiveness of responses.

NLIHC participated in the listening session along with multiple members of the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition, an NLIHC-led group of over 850 local, state, and national organizations working to ensure all disaster survivors receive the assistance they need to fully recover. The DHRC is also advocating for the “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act.” That bill, introduced by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Todd Young (R-IN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Representative Al Green (D-TX), would permanently authorize the CDBG-DR program, speed the rate at which these important recovery funds reach disaster survivors, and ensure those funds reach those most in need.

Following the listening session, NLIHC sent HUD a letter from NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel outlining concerns with the policy creation process and reiterating the need for broad and detailed public input. “HUD has not released a draft of its Universal Notice, nor has it invited state and local stakeholders, including those who have directly experienced disaster recovery in their communities, to provide vital input,” wrote Diane in the letter. “As a result, any final Universal Notice will not have the benefit of the robust public input needed to improve the program and ensure greater equity.” The letter asked HUD to include provisions necessary to ensure that CDBG-DR funds reach those disaster survivors most in need after a disaster, stating: “If HUD moves forward with a Universal Notice, we urge the agency to include key protections and safeguards to ensure disaster recovery efforts provide a complete and equitable recovery for our nation’s lowest-income and most marginalized survivors and their communities.”

Read HUD’s Climate Adaption and Resiliency Plan at:

Read NLIHC’s letter to HUD at: