The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro and Dr. Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, announced a $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition. The competition will make $1 billion available to communities struck by recent natural disasters to promote risk assessment and planning. It will also fund innovative projects to prepare communities for future storms and other extreme events.
“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,” said Castro.
Funding for the competition comes from the Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery appropriation under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act in 2013. It’s a response to requests from state, local and tribal leaders for help, according to HUD. Prior to the competition, representatives from eligible communities will have an opportunity to attend Rockefeller-supported Resilience Academies to strengthen their funding proposals submitted to the competition. Applicants must tie their proposals to their area’s eligible disaster. For example, a community that suffered a flood might want to offer flood buyouts in distressed areas and then create wetlands that limit future flooding, while simultaneously creating a nature preserve or recreation area.
Craig Barrett, co-founder of NBI Properties in Fort Walton Beach, said that storms responsible to millions of dollars in property damage that swept through the area last March would definitely qualify for the resilience program.
“In our area, Okaloosa, Walton, Santa Rosa, and Escambia counties all suffered major damage,” he said. “Any funds awarded from the resilience program could greatly benefit communities here in the future.”
The $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition has 67 eligible applicants, including Florida. To qualify, a state must have a major disaster declared in 2011, 2012 or 2013. HUD says Florida had three major declared disasters in that time that impacted 45 counties.
The Rockefeller Foundation will provide technical assistance to eligible communities. More information on the National Disaster Resilience Competition can be found on HUD’s website.