The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced it will send $791 million to Florida through its Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program to help homes and buildings damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Matthew.
U.S. HUD Sec. Ben Carson made the announcement on Tuesday morning. HUD sent $616 million to Florida back in November to help hurricane recovery efforts.
“It’s clear that a number of states and local communities are still struggling to recover from a variety of natural disasters that occurred in the past three years,” Carson said. “These grants will help rebuild communities impacted by past disasters and will also protect them from major disasters in the future.”
Most of the money--almost $633.5 million--will go to support “mitigation activities” which HUD describes “as actions taken to protect people and property from the predictable damage from future events and can include elevating homes, property buyouts, and hardening structures from wind and water.” Almost $550 million of that is in response to disasters from 2017 with the remainder--almost $84 million--in response to disasters from 2016. More than $158 million has been set aside to restore homes, businesses and infrastructure that were damaged by the storms
HUD will issue more guidelines on how the CDBG-DR Program funds will be spent in the coming weeks. The state will now craft a disaster recovery plan which will include recommendations with local and citizen input on how the funds will be spent.
Gov. Rick Scott applauded the additional funds from the federal government.
“Today’s announcement by HUD and the Trump administration is great news,” Scott said. “With this additional funding, Florida has now received a total of more than $1.4 billion from HUD to assist the families of our state as they continue to recover from Hurricane Irma. We will keep doing everything we can to ensure every family has all the resources they need.”