HUD Launches ‘Disaster Resilience’ Competition

Communities that have been devastated by a presidentially declared major disaster in the past three years are being invited to compete for $1 billion in federal funding that can be used to help rebuild neighborhoods as well as bolster disaster preparedness plans.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), in cooperation with the Rockefeller Foundation, has launched a $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition to give disaster-stricken communities an incentive to develop ‘innovative resilience projects’ in preparation for future storms and other extreme events.

Funding for the competition is through the Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery appropriation provided by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. Communities that apply for the funding have to present their own unique disaster preparedness plans that are related to the types of disasters experienced in the past.

‘The National Disaster Resilience Competition is going to help communities that have been devastated by natural disasters build back stronger and better prepared for the future,’ says Julián Castro, the new secretary of HUD, in a statement. ‘This competition will help spur innovation, creatively distribute limited federal resources and help communities across the country cope with the reality of severe weather that is being made worse by climate change.’

‘The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to spurring innovation in resilience planning and design so that communities can build better, more resilient futures, particularly for their most vulnerable citizens’ adds Dr. Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. ‘Building resilience will minimize the impact of the next shock, while also improving life in communities day-to-day, allowing them to yield a resilience dividend. Everyone wins.’

To strengthen their funding proposals, representatives from eligible communities are invited to attend Rockefeller-supported Resilience Academies across the country.

The competition is being launched in response to requests from state, local and tribal leaders who have asked for help in preparing their communities for future disasters.

A total of 67 communities experienced presidentially declared major disasters in 2011, 2012 and 2013, according to the report, and thus are now eligible to compete for the $1 billion in funding.

Earlier this year, the Rockefeller Foundation partnered with HUD on the Rebuild by Design competition, where disaster-stricken communities competed for funding for projects to rebuild and restore areas damaged by storms and other disasters. The six winning projects selected ‘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,’ HUD states in its release.


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