DONOVAN ACCEPTS $1.3 BILLION TEXAS DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN State to fund infrastructure, housing and economic development following Hurricanes Dolly and Ike
HOUSTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today 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 made the announcement today during a tour of a Disaster Housing Assistance Center in Houston.
"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," said Donovan. "Today we take an important step in restoring the affordable housing, infrastructure and employment that's 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 the State of 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 their 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 the following unmet needs:
Housing Activities - By law, Texas must devote at least 10.6 percent or $139,743,911 of HUD's allocation for affordable rental housing programs. To meet this goal, the state will provide nearly $59 million for its Affordable Rental Housing Stock Restoration Program and nearly $81 million to regional Councils of Government. Under the Texas plan, housing activities may include: Repair, rehabilitation or new construction of housing; repair and replacement of manufactured housing; elevation of existing homes; and hazard mitigation. CDBG funds can also be used to cover the non-Federal cost-share for certain FEMA mitigation grants.
Non-housing Activities - To address the State's unmet infrasture and economic revitalization needs, the Texas plan seeks to fund a number of activities including: restoration of infrastructure (such as water and sewer improvement, street and bridge repair, and debris removal); property buyouts in flood zones, demolition of damaged properties; rehabilitation of commercial/industrial buildings; and code enforcement. In addition, the State's plan allows for the support of public service programs (such as job training, child care and crime prevention) and public facilities (such as community centers, medical facilities and shelters for persons with special needs).
Donovan recently announced that families who were displaced by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita and are currently enrolled in the Disaster Housing Assistance Program will have an additional six months, or until August 31st, to transition out of the DHAP program, either to self-sufficiency or other federal or state housing programs, including HUD's Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. This extension of rental assistance, and intensive case management, gives 7,760 families in Texas more time to find alternative housing solutions.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to sustaining homeownership; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development ad enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.