HUD Announces Disaster Assistance, Regulatory Waivers for Ida Survivors
HUD announced the implementation of federal disaster assistance for areas of Louisiana affected by Hurricane Ida. The president’s declaration of these places as disaster areas allows HUD to aid impacted families living in identified parishes. As part of the assistance, HUD has issued a package of 27 regulatory waivers to make it easier for communities to respond quickly in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. The package represents one of the largest collections of regulatory and administrative waivers ever issued by the department at one time, and it also applies to communities in New Jersey and New York responding to remnants of Hurricane Ida.
The waivers cover the following Community Planning and Development (CPD) programs: The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program, and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program. To expedite the use of these funds, HUD’s state and local partners can now access a waiver through a new simplified notification process. HUD’s flexibilities include the following:
Abbreviated public comment period. HUD is allowing for an abbreviated public comment requirement on changes to a grantee’s community redevelopment plans. Upon notification, HUD will reduce the customary 30-day comment period to seven days. This temporary allowance balances the need to help local communities more quickly while continuing to provide reasonable notice and opportunity for citizens to comment on the proposed uses of funds.
Notice requirements. Hurricane Ida hurt communications networks. So HUD is waiving the normal communication requirements and allowing these grantees to determine what constitutes reasonable notice and opportunity to comment.
Unit replacement. These hurricanes caused extensive damage and destruction to the housing stock in certain impacted areas. To accelerate new housing construction, HUD is suspending normal rules to enable CDBG grantees to replace affordable housing units that were lost as a result of the hurricanes and flooding.
Suspend expenditure cap. Since affected citizens may require additional time and effort to execute their recovery plans, HUD will suspend a cap limiting CDBG expenditures for public services to 15 percent. HUD will temporarily allow CDBG grantees to pay for additional support services for individuals and families affected by the hurricanes. Services could include, but not be limited to, the provision of food, emergency shelter, case management, and related services to help residents in declared-disaster areas until long-term recovery resources become available.