HUD Secretary Accepts $1.3B for Long-Term Disaster Recovery in Texas

By Anuradha Kher, Online News EditorWashington, D.C.–U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan has accepted a $1.3 billion plan to support long-term disaster recovery in the State of Texas following Hurricanes Dolly and Ike last year. Funded through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the Texas recovery plan seeks to produce affordable rental housing, build critical public infrastructure and support economic revitalization.Donovan is touring the Disaster Housing Assistance Center in Houston this week.  “Last year was a brutal hurricane season for Texas and this plan helps to put hard-hit areas of the state on the road to recovery,” says Donovan. “Today we take an important step in restoring the affordable housing, infrastructure and employment that is needed to breathe new life into these communities.”Last September, Congress appropriated more than $6 billion in supplemental funding for “necessary expenses related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure, housing and economic revitalization in areas affected by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters occurring during 2008.” In November, HUD allocated one-third of this funding or $2.1 billion, including $1.3 billion to Texas.  Currently, HUD is completing a year-end analysis of 2008 disaster data to allocate the remaining $3.972 billion. CDBG funds cannot duplicate assistance provided by other Federal agencies, such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), so the state will need to coordinate its administration of the HUD funding with FEMA’s disaster assistance and mitigation programs to avoid duplication and ensure streamlined delivery to communities in need.              The Texas recovery plan intends to use HUD funding to meet housing activities including providing nearly $59 million for its Affordable Rental Housing Stock Restoration Program and nearly $81 million to regional Councils of Government.