Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced a package of regulatory and administrative waivers to allow the use HUD funding to help communities in Maui and the Island of Hawai’i accelerate their recovery from the wildfires. Today’s announcement represents follows initial support HUD provided to families in the wake of the fires.
“We’re committed to supporting Hawaii communities. Our deepest condolences go to those who have lost loved ones. HUD is doing everything in our power to ensure that survivors of these devastating fires have a safe place to call home,” said HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Marion McFadden. “After a disaster, priorities shift towards recovery. We are empowering local grantees to use existing resources for their most pressing needs and have enacted every flexibility within our authority.”
The regulatory and administrative relief announced today covers the following HUD programs: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Housing Trust Fund (HTF), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and Continuum of Care (CoC). To expedite the use of these funds, HUD’s state and local partners can now access a waiver through a new simplified notification process.
Through this waiver package, HUD is providing flexibility by:
- Suspending the CDBG public services cap to provide additional support services related to the effects of the disaster on individuals and families – allowing funds to pay for food, water, and other emergency needs.
- Allowing new housing construction with CDBG funding in declared-disaster areas.
- Providing flexibility in HOME tenant based rental assistance requirements to reduce burden for those seeking assistance.
- Waiving the HOME local matching contribution requirements and providing greater flexibility in the entities that can expeditiously provide housing to displaced persons and repair properties damaged by the disaster.
- Extending the period of time that individuals can receive temporary assistance, including CDBG emergency grant payments and ESG rental assistance.
Below are examples of what the funding can be used for in the wake of a disaster:
- assistance to people experiencing or at risk of homelessness after a disaster,
- tenant based rental assistance,
- housing rehabilitation,
- demolition of buildings,
- housing reconstruction,
- homebuyer assistance replacing disaster damaged residences,
- voluntary acquisition and relocation programs to help people move,
- infrastructure improvements,
- reconstruction or replacement of public facilities,
- and small business grants and loans to cover uninsured losses.
Earlier this year, HUD announced an overhaul of the agency’s disaster recovery efforts to better serve communities who face the direct impacts of weather-related disasters. Based on the increasing number of disasters and the increasingly important role that HUD is playing in federal government’s preparedness, response, and recovery efforts, the Department established the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) in the Office of the Deputy Secretary, the Office of Disaster Recovery (ODR) within the Office of Community Planning and Development and has added of dozens of new HUD staff members to help expedite recovery processes. These steps will streamline the agency’s disaster recovery and resilience work by increasing coordination, reducing bureaucracy, and increasing capacity to get recovery funding to communities more quickly by facilitating collaborative, transparent disaster recovery planning with communities earlier in the process.