The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development (DEHCD) is eligible to receive $21,660,211 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds. The Federal Register Notice, released on April 16, 2012, contained the rules, requirements, and process for DEHCD to apply for this funding. DEHCD has until July 23, 2012, to develop and submit an Action Plan for Disaster Recovery, which is essentially the state’s application for these funds. The Action Plan must follow a format prescribed by HUD and must address the requirements identified in the Federal Register Notice.
In general, the Action Plan must demonstrate what the remaining unmet and long-term recovery needs are and how the state proposes to address them the areas most impacted and distressed as the result of declared major disasters in Vermont in 2011. These major disasters include FEMA Disaster Declaration 1995 (April 23-May 9, 2011 flood), FEMA Disaster Declaration 4001 (May 26-27, 2011 flood), and of course FEMA Disaster Declaration 4022 (August 27- September 2, 2011 Tropical Storm Irene).
The Draft Action Plan is based on the best available data and information from a variety of sources and soliciting input on unmet needs from affected communities, stakeholders and partners. DEHCD has made every attempt to identify and prioritize the unmet and long term recovery needs of the state. The Draft was developed within the constraints of the available funding, HUD’s requirements to target 80% of the funding to Windsor and Washington counties and to pre-allocate 50% of the funding to specific projects, in our Action Plan. We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Please understand this is only a draft and only contains the key elements of the complete Action Plan required by HUD. This Draft is subject to change based on new information gathered, un-identified needs, changes to HUD rules or requirements and public comment.
DEHCD took written public comment on the Draft Action Plan until June 29, 2012. DEHCD has also prepared this list of likely questions and general information. Of course DEHCD will further refine, edit, clarify and incorporate any additional unmet needs and public comment into the Draft Action Plan before it is submitted to HUD by the July 23, 2012 deadline. HUD has committed to an expedited review and approval process of no more than 45 days after submittal by DEHCD. Based on this timeline, DEHCD plans to make applications available by early September.
The Draft Action Plan is also available at the following websites http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/opportunities/funding/cdbgdr and http://vtstrong.vermont.gov. All updates and revisions to the Draft Action Plan will be posted to these websites.
It is important to stress that CDBG-DR funding can only be used to address needs that can't be met by insurance proceeds, FEMA, SBA, other state, local or federal programs and charitable funding. Projects must address an impact within a county that received a Presidential disaster declaration in 2011. They must also be a CDBG-eligible activity and address a national objective such as benefitting low and moderate income people or addressing an urgent need. One of the best ways to prepare for the successful use of these funds is to pursue and document each of these other funding sources as quickly as possible.
We are grateful to the governor and our entire Congressional Delegation for pushing hard in Washington, D.C. to make these funds available to help so many in Vermont recover from the last year’s natural disasters. We know many of you are still working tirelessly on recovery efforts and anxiously awaiting for additional recovery funding to become available. We are making progress and with continued collaboration and hard work; a safer, smarter, stronger Vermont is in sight.