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HUD Launches $1 Billion National Disaster Resilience Competition

September 26, 2014
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) last week announced a $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition.
These funds will be available to communities that have struck by natural disasters in recent years. Interested cities can participate in Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Academies to help strengthen their funding proposals. March 2015 is the deadline for the first phase.
The competition promotes risk assessment and planning and will fund the implementation of innovative resilience projects to better prepare communities for future storms and other extreme events.  Funding for the competition is from the Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery (CDBG-DR) appropriation provided by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 (PL 113-2). 

This competition responds to requests from state, local, and tribal leaders who have asked the federal government to help them prepare their communities for the impacts of climate change and support investments in more resilient infrastructure.
All successful applicants will need to tie their proposals to the eligible disaster from which they are recovering. For example, a community that suffered a flood might want to offer flood buyouts and property acquisition in the most impacted and distressed areas, followed by restoration of a wetland to limit future flooding and provide a nature preserve or recreation area. A community that lost housing and a road during a mudslide might want to not only construct housing in a safer area for survivors, but also find a financing mechanism for affected downstream businesses to survive the effects of the last event and be prepared for and recover more quickly from future hazards.
Partnership with Rockefeller Foundation
Given the complexity of the challenge, HUD will partner with the Rockefeller Foundation to help communities better understand the innovation, broad commitment, and multi-faceted approach that is required to build toward a more resilient future. As they did in HUD’s Rebuild by Design competition, the Rockefeller Foundation will provide targeted technical assistance to eligible communities and support a stakeholder-driven process, informed by the best available data, to identify recovery needs and innovative solutions. The six winning projects selected through the Rebuild by Design competition in June 2014 serve as models of how philanthropic resources and the federal government can be leveraged to support communities recovering from disasters while also strengthening their ability to withstand future disasters.
Eligible Applicants
There are 67 eligible applicants for the $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition. All states with counties that experienced a Presidentially Declared Major Disaster in 2011, 2012 or 2013 are eligible to submit applications that address unmet needs as well as vulnerabilities to future extreme events, stresses, threats, hazards, or other shocks in areas that were most impacted and distressed as a result of the effects of the Qualified Disaster. This includes 48 of 50 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. In addition, 17 local governments that have received funding under PL 113-2 are also eligible. This is a list of eligible applicants.
The Competition seeks to meet the following six objectives:
  1. Fairly and effectively allocate $1 billion in remaining CDBG-DR funds.
  2. Create multiple examples of modern disaster recovery that apply science-based and forward-looking risk analysis to address recovery, resilience, and revitalization needs.
  3. Leave a legacy of institutionalizing — in as many states and local jurisdictions as possible — the implementation of thoughtful, sound, and resilient approaches to addressing future risks.
  4. Provide resources to help communities plan and implement disaster recovery that makes them more resilient to future extreme weather events or other shocks, while also improving quality of life for existing residents.
  5. Fully engage community stakeholders to inform them about the impacts of climate change and develop pathways to resilience based on sound science.
  6. Leverage investments from the philanthropic community to help communities define problems, set policy goals, explore options, and craft solutions to inform their own local and regional resilient recovery strategies. 
The National Disaster Resilience Competition is a year-long competition structured in two phases: framing and implementation.
The competition is structured to guide applicants in the framing phase through broad consideration of their disaster recovery needs, vulnerabilities, stakeholder interests, resilience and other community development investment alternatives. Then they can refine those needs and design potential solutions in the implementation phase. 
Phase 1 applications will be due in March 2015. Successful applicants in Phase 1 will be invited to participate in Phase 2 to design solutions for recovery and resilience.
Phase 2 applications must also include an analysis for any proposed projects with an account of the social and ecological benefits and costs as a consideration. The best proposals from Phase 2 will receive funds for implementation and will demonstrate how communities across the country can build a more resilient future. HUD expects to make final award announcements in late 2015.
Read more on the National Disaster Resilience Competition.

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