Julián Castro, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary, awarded $500 million to Louisiana, Texas and West Virginia to help the states recover from flooding events earlier this year.
This funding is provided through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery Program, which gives funds to assist communities experiencing the most serious damage to their housing stock.
President Barack Obama signed the Continuing Resolution into law on Sept. 29, 2016, which directed HUD to allocate $500 million "in the most impacted and distressed areas" that experienced presidentially declared disasters in 2016, but prior to Sept. 29.
Because of this stipulation, areas affected by Hurricane Matthew did not qualify for the funding since the disaster declaration came after Sept. 29. HUD considered 33 major disasters that occurred during the time period.
“Immediately after President Obama signed this spending bill into law, my team began identifying the strongest cases to receive disaster recovery funds,” Castro said. “These three states — Louisiana, Texas and West Virginia — experienced intense and destructive flooding causing great damage to residents' homes and draining state resources.”
“Today, we make a critically needed investment to help these communities recover and help families rebuild their homes,” he said.
Here are the amounts awarded to each state:
In order to determine where to distribute the funding, HUD used the most recent data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. In the hardest-hit counties of the three states, more than 102,000 households experienced damage to their homes, and more than 41,000 families saw the most serious level of damage or destruction and unmet needs.
This summer, unprecedented flooding in Louisiana led to the rescue of more than 20,000 people. This changed the housing market in the area as thousands of displaced residents sought new housing.
HUD will publish a notice in the Federal Register that defines the criteria for the use of these funds.
HUD isn’t the only agency helping these flood victims. After the flooding in Louisiana, Fannie Mae granted mortgage servicers additional leeway to help some of Louisiana’s flood victims. Shortly afterward, Freddie Mac released their disaster relief policies as well.