HUD No. 08-129
August 29, 2008
HUD CUTS RED TAPE TO SPEED RELIEF TO HARD-HIT FLOOD AREAS IN IOWA
WASHINGTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Steve Preston today agreed to allow Iowato spend approximately $26 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding more quickly, thereby speeding relief to flood-ravaged areas of the HawkeyeState. Preston granted several waivers that will give Iowasubstantial flexibility to overcome regulatory and legal hurdles and accelerate the pace of recovery in 85 counties that were devastated by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding.
"When it comes to helping communities get back on their feet, HUD remains committed to doing everything it can to cut red tape and help Iowa put this money to work where it's needed most," said Preston. "These counties need help now and I'm pleased to be able to expedite the State's request to get its long-term recovery plan up to full speed."
"I want to thank Secretary Preston for joining with Iowans as we continue our rebuilding efforts." said Governor Culver. "This waiver will help move us farther down the road to recovery. I look forward to working with the Department of Housing and Urban Development - and all of our federal partners, as we continue to rebuild our state stronger and greater than before."
HUD is meeting Iowa's request for several waivers and statutory suspensions to allow it to reprogram approximately $26 million in existing CDBG funding to disaster-effected parts of the State. Today HUD is:
- Reducing the minimum 30-day public comment period to at least seven days to allow the State to implement its disaster plans more quickly;
- Relaxing the restrictions on the construction of new homes by allowing the State to undertake new construction activities without first contracting with non-profit developers;
- Eliminating the 50 percent cap on downpayment assistance to lower income homebuyers;
- Allowing the State to retain businesses and jobs by removing a requirement that each job benefit a low- or moderate-income person. Now the State can target funding to hard-hit areas, presuming all benefiting businesses and jobs will primarily benefit lower income persons;
- Removing a "one-for-one" replacement requirement for disaster damaged low- and moderate-income homes by recognizing thousands of housing units were destroyed; and
- Granting the State three years to meet the annual requirement that 70 percent of CDBG funds benefit lower income families.
On August 4th, HUD allocated an additional $85 million in supplemental CDBG funds to Iowato support the State's long-term disaster recovery and critical infrastructure needs. Shortly, HUD will make additional allocations to Midwestern States when it completes a more thorough study of each state's unmet needs.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.