The House Financial Services Committee voted unanimously on July 16 to approve H.R. 3702, the “Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019,” bipartisan legislation from Reps. Al Green (D-TX) and Ann Wagner (R-MO) that would formally authorize HUD’s Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. The bill includes key reforms to the program recommended by the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) where CLPHA is a member.
By formally authorizing the program, the bill would help ensure that the recovery process is administered consistently and that dollars can flow more quickly to communities in need. In addition, the bill includes important measures that would ensure scarce resources are targeted to families and communities most in need. The bill would require states to allocate resources equitably between housing and infrastructure priorities and among homeowners, renters, and people experiencing homelessness. By directing the HUD Office of Inspector General to oversee program outcomes, the bill would help ensure that CDBG-DR delivers on Congress’ intent to serve all eligible survivors. The bill would also make data available to the public about the impact of the disaster and how resources are spent, which would help promote transparency, allow effective public participation in the development of state recovery plans, and help state and local governments, philanthropic organizations, and researchers better identify critical gaps in services.
The bill now heads to the House floor for a vote. A similar bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate as soon as this week.