HUD Announces Billion Dollar National Disaster Resilience Competition

HUD, in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation, recently announced the National Disaster Resilience Competition. The competition will award nearly $1 billion in HUD disaster recovery funds to eligible communities across the nation. HUD states the competition will help the selected communities recover from previous disasters and improve their ability to respond to and recover from natural hazards in the future. Rockefeller Foundation will provide technical support and offer training workshops to every eligible state and local government along with assisting applicants applying for HUD funding.

The competition will be open to all states with counties that experienced a Presidentially Declared Major Disaster in 2011, 2012, or 2013. This includes 48 of 50 states in addition to Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., as well as 17 local governments that were issued funding under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, PL 113-2.

HUD outlined the following six objectives for the competition in the announcement of the initiative:

  • Fairly and effectively allocate the CDBG Disaster Recovery funds;
  • Create multiple examples of modern disaster recovery that applies science-based and forward-looking risk analysis to address recovery, resilience, and revitalization needs;
  • Leave a legacy of institutionalizing the implementation of thoughtful, sound, and resilient approaches to address future risks in state and local decision making and planning;
  • Provide resources to help communities plan and implement disaster recovery that makes them more resilient to future threats or hazards, including extreme weather events and climate change, while also improving quality of life for existing residents and making communities more resilient to economic stresses or other shocks;
  • Fully engage and inform community stakeholders about the impacts of climate change and assist in developing pathways to resilience based on sound science; and
  • Leverage investments from the philanthropic community to help communities define problems, set policy goals, explore options, and craft solutions for local and regional resilient recovery strategies.

The competition will be decided in two application phases. The first phase will be focused on framing the recovery needs and identifying risks and vulnerabilities in the geographical region of the applicant. After considering all applications from the first phase, HUD will invite the highest-rated applicants to fully articulate a disaster recovery project that addresses their identified risks, vulnerabilities, and community development opportunities.

HUD anticipates awarding grants to multiple applicants with funding ranging from $1 million to $500 million. Phase one applicants not selected to participate in the second phase are eligible for funds up to $2.5 million. HUD has announced it’s setting aside $181 million for New Jersey and New York for Hurricane Sandy relief.