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HUD prioritises economic equity and environment in grants

HUD prioritises economic equity and environment in grants

WASHINGTON, (AP) The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued new guidelines to guide the disbursal of $2Billion of disaster-relief block grants. This includes an emphasis on climate-change mitigation and equity in underserved communities.

Monday’s Federal Register publication included new guidelines that outline specific priorities for local and state agencies that receive Community Development Block Grants.

Last year, the funds were allocated to aid in disaster relief efforts. These include wildfires in California and a Michigan dam collapse, Hurricane Zeta in Mississippi and earthquakes and Tropical Storm Isaias at Puerto Rico.

These block grants offer local authorities and other agencies a lot of flexibility to choose the best place to allocate the funds, depending on the nature or severity of the disaster. Wildfires are known to destroy large numbers of buildings and homes, while hurricanes and storms can cause the most severe damage to infrastructure such as bridges and sewers.

HUD will preserve most of the flexibility, but HUD has now directed recipient agencies to prioritise long-term environmental resilience as well as serving historically marginalized communities. These guidelines were expected and Marcia L. Fudge, HUD Secretary, spoke of them when grants were first announced in December 2021.

Fudge stated that the disbursal would reflect President Joe Biden’s emphasis on climate justice in hard-hit areas and building long-term, inclusive resilience to the effects of climate change, especially for marginalized and underserved communities.

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Michael Burns, a spokesperson for HUD, stated that the agency is trying to define underserved areas as areas that were economically damaged before the disaster, and populations that have been denied full participation in economic, civic, and social life.

All new construction that is funded by grants will have to conform to green standards. These standards emphasize energy efficiency, resilience and avoiding similar disasters in future.

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