WASHINGTON – Representatives Tom Rice (R-S.C.) and James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) this week introduced legislation to revise the standards of eligibility for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding for communities after major disasters.  

This legislation corrects an imbalance in the standards for an area to be considered as having suffered sufficient concentrated damages following a disaster from a minimum threshold dollar amount to any zip code for which the median household income is less than 75 percent of the national median household income.

“South Carolina faced challenges with how the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) allocations were weighted during past disasters, such as after Hurricane Florence. Currently, the HUD formulas favor large counties and discriminate against small counties, regardless of damages sustained during a major disaster,” said Congressman Rice. “I’m proud to work across the aisle with Congressman Clyburn on this important correction that will better help disadvantaged areas of South Carolina receive our due federal disaster funding in the future.”

“It is often in times of crisis that inequities in our country are most pronounced. This was especially true in South Carolina after many rural and disadvantaged communities suffered significant losses during the 2015 100-year flood,” said Congressman Clyburn.  “I am pleased to join this effort to ensure low-income communities are not discriminated against in the allocation of disaster recovery funding merely because their damages don’t meet an arbitrary minimum dollar amount.”

“Communities across our nation face unique challenges in the aftermath of natural disasters. Modifying the CDBG-DR funding methodology is a great step towards more equitable recovery funding particularly in our state’s rural counties,” said South Carolina Chief Resilience Officer Benjamin I. Duncan II

Read the bill here.

Background:

This legislation is the fourth bill introduced by Congressman Rice in the 117th Congress to increase transparency, accountability, and usability of disaster relief programs. 

Congressman Rice introduced the FEMA Relief Extension Act to extend the period of time for individuals and households to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance following a Presidentially Declared emergency or disaster on October 21, 2021.

Congressman Rice introduced the FEMA Caseworker Accountability Act to increase transparency of case management staff turnover at FEMA following a disaster on September 23, 2021.

Congressman Rice introduced The Disaster Relief Transparency Act to increase government accountability in the allocation of disaster relief funds at both FEMA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on May 13, 2021.

 

###