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Survey Results: Findings from BPC’s Survey of HUD CDBG-DR Grantees

For long-term housing following a disaster, HUD CDBG-DR is the answer.

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) may be the answer to many prayers, but it is a long, slow process to see the funding show up where the rubber is meeting the road — in helping communities and individuals.

While the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does provide more relief to communities than they do citizens, it is the HUD program that can lift people out of the depths of a disaster, if they can survive months and maybe even years waiting for the help to arrive.

See the survey results below that are summarized and then the link to the full survey by the Bipartisan Policy Center:

“To inform the work of our Disaster Response Reform Task Force and understand how HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program can best support communities as they recover from devastating and deadly disasters, BPC surveyed CDBG-DR program grantees, including state and local grant managers. The survey identified key benefits and difficulties associated with the program, as well as priorities for reform.

“Overall, survey respondents expressed support for HUD’s role in federal disaster recovery efforts, particularly those focused on housing, but also expressed a distinct need for changes to expedite the recovery process:

  • 94% of survey respondents said CDBG-DR funding was very or somewhat important to their state or community’s recovery—with 69% citing housing as the most important unmet need this funding addressed.   
  • 86% of survey respondents said it was important for HUD to have an active role in providing disaster assistance—and that HUD was better suited than FEMA to provide medium- to long-term disaster housing assistance.  
  • “From when a disaster strikes to the initial congressional appropriation” was cited as the time period responsible for the most significant delays in the grant process, followed by “from HUD funding allocation to HUD award.” 
  • Permanent statutory authorization of the CDBG-DR program and greater standardization had the most support of all proposed reforms. 

See the full survey results.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.