Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds are appropriated by Congress to help communities recover from natural disasters. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) implements the program.
More information on HUD's CDBG-DR Program can be found here.
CDBG-DR approved projects support disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure, housing, and economic revitalization. CDBG-DR funds can also be used to match other federal program allocations, such as FEMA Hazard Mitigation and FEMA Public Assistance, both of which require a 25% local match.
CDBG-DR projects may include the following; however it should be noted that projects are subject to what is allowed by the applicable Federal Register Notice - the publication that governs the specific CDBG-DR award:
- Housing recovery
- Restore, develop, replace, and/or improve housing (new construction, rehabilitation, single or multi-family, owner or rental);
- Provide other housing assistance services;
- Offer buyouts of damaged or threatened properties;
- Assist in relocation of persons and households;
- Senior or special needs housing.
- Rebuild or replace infrastructure and public facilities
- Roads, bridges, stormwater management systems;
- Waterlines, electric service;
- Community centers, schools, shelters, parks.
- Assistance to affected business owners
- Address job losses, impacts to tax revenues;
- Job training and workforce development;
- Loans and grants to businesses;
- Improvements to commercial and rental districts.
- Housing recovery
A number of activities are considered ineligible for CDBG-DR funds, including:
- Projects that do not correspond to disaster-related impacts;
- Restrictions as identified in the appropriation law;
- Ineligible per CDBG regulations unless waived, e.g. vertical construction;
- Does not meet national CDBG objectives;
- HUD policies may restrict the type of projects allowed, e.g. non-public facilities in Lava Hazard Zones 1 & 2.
HUD provides flexible grants to help cities, counties and states recover from disasters, especially in low-income areas, subject to availability of supplemental appropriations.
With regard to Hawaiʻi, HUD will allocate CDBG-DR funding via the State or directly to affected counties to be used to implement the CDBG-DR Action Plan(s) as developed by the receiving local government, in collaboration with community and various county and state agencies.
In response to a disaster declaration from the president, Congress may appropriate additional funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program as Disaster Recovery grants to rebuild the affected areas and provide crucial seed money to start the recovery process. Since CDBG-DR assistance may fund a broad range of recovery activities, HUD can provide help to communities and neighborhoods, including grants and services down to the household and individual level, that otherwise might not recover due to limited resources.
On May 14, 2019, HUD announced the award of $66,890,000 for the State of Hawaiʻi's eligible disasters, including Kilauea Eruption & Earthquakes, severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides. Eligible counties include Honolulu, Kauai and Hawaiʻi.
As of August 2019, it is still unknown precisely how much of the $66.89 million award will be available for Hawaiʻi County to apply.
Eligible state or local governments are allocated funds through a Congressional appropriation, but must also submit a variety of forms and documents to obtain access to these funds from HUD. From the date of the Federal Register Notice - which details all the program rules, regulations and guidelines - state or local governments have up to 120 days to compile the following deliverables:
- A Certification Plan, which shows that the state or local government has the systems and processes in place to manage grant funds and guard against duplication of benefits, fraud and abuse.
- An Implementation Plan, which details that the state or local government has a plan to build the additional staffing capacity needed to implement the grant funds.
- An Action Plan, which details the disaster impacts, unmet needs, programs and projects identified for grant implementation.
- Public Comment Period. The applicant is required to make the Action Plan available for public review and comment.
- Action Plan Approval. HUD must accept and approve the Action Plan.
- Grant Agreement. The awardee and HUD execute a grant agreement detailing disbursement of grant funds and monthly reporting requirements.
- DRGR Plan. A detailed spending plan is uploaded to HUD's grant management platform for approval prior to the initial draw down of CDBG-DR funds.
It is unknown precisely when the Federal Register Notice will be published; however, current estimates are between now and early December 2019. Upon release of the Federal Register Notice, Hawaii County will be eligible to apply for CDBG-DR funding. Funds may be awarded following a 3-4 month process with multiple deliverables, including approval to the county’s Action Plan, acceptance of the Action Plan within the HUD reporting and financial system (DRGR) and execution of a grant agreement with HUD.
To meet the impending requirements, the County is engaged in the following activities:
- Implementation of a Recovery Interim Strategy and Action Planning Process.
- Development of a Recovery Strategic Plan, including an economic recovery component.
- Engagement of the broader Puna community to prioritize established General Plan and Community Development Plan (CDP) goals, followed by defined objectives.
- Recovery scenarios and strategies relative to risk.
- Implementation of household, community and business surveys, and case management for continued outreach to impacted families and understanding of unmet needs.
- Staff capacity-building and training specific to CDBG-DR requirements.
- Buyouts are being considered as part of the development of the Kīlauea Recovery Strategic Plan. If the County is able to secure federal funds for buyouts, this may be a way to further assist property owners who desire to relocate from Kīlauea's Lower East Rift Zone. Buyouts, if available, would be limited to primary residences given federal program restraints.
- Verified impacts from the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption include:
- 13.7 sq mi / 35.5 sq km / 8,488 acres inundated with lava
- 875 acres new land created along shoreline
- Kīlauea summit collapse
- Erupted a volume of 1 cubic kilometer of lava; two thirds from Fissure 8
- 716 structures destroyed, including approx. 200 primary residences
- 3,000 residents displaced
- Estimated $236.5M in damages to roads, waterlines and facilities (e.g. parks)
- Small businesses decreased revenues and closures
- $27.9M farm losses resulting in decreased agriculture and floriculture production
- Decreased tourism revenue and adjustments to marketing and products
- Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park 4-month closure, source of $222M/year economic influence
Infrastructure & Rebuilding
- The Department of Public Works (DPW) began working to reestablish access over a temporary road to homes and farms in the kipuka (land isolated by recent lava flows) along Highway 132, including connections to Government Beach Road and Lighthouse Road at Four Corners. Construction began on June 10, 2019 and the goal is to complete temporary road construction before October 5, 2019 to qualify for Federal Highways Administration (FHWA) reimbursement. For more detail, visit Road Access.
No public access will be permitted on Highway 132 until it is officially inspected, completed and accepted.
The target date to complete construction of Highway 132 temporary road is October 5, 2019. The County and the construction crew are working to meet this deadline and work is expected to continue to the deadline date. For the safety of the public and the construction crew, and to avoid affecting the schedule, the road will not be opened until it is completed.
About 700 feet of Lighthouse Road was covered by lava, and the county is seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to repair it. FEMA is reviewing the funding request for Lighthouse Road and other lava-inundated county roadways, such as Pohoiki Road, as allowed under Section 428 of the agency’s Public Assistance program. The estimated cost to restore or replace all inundated public roads, excluding Highway 132, is $170 million. FEMA covers 75% of the cost of eligible projects.
Some residents have asked if non-FEMA funds can be used for Lighthouse Road restoration. In this case, the county would have to remove the project from the Section 428 application, which would set back the FEMA approval process. Such an action would have a negative impact on recovery.
Lava from the 2018 Kīlauea eruption covered about 4 miles of Highway 137. Hawai‘i County is seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to repair or replace it. FEMA is reviewing the funding request for Highway 137 and other lava-inundated county roadways, as allowed under Section 428 of the agency’s Public Assistance program. The estimated cost to restore or replace all inundated public roads, excluding Highway 132, is $170 million. FEMA covers 75% of the cost of eligible projects.
In December 2018, the county opened a temporary road over less than 1 mile of lava flows covering the highway near MacKenzie State Recreation Area. This provided access to Isaac Hale Beach Park and some private lands in the area.
No schedule or timeline is available for additional Highway 137 restoration.
Lava from the 2018 Kīlauea eruption covered about 2 miles of Pohoiki Road. Hawai‘i County is seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to repair or replace it. FEMA is reviewing the funding request for Pohoiki Road and other lava-inundated county roadways, as allowed under Section 428 of the agency’s Public Assistance program. The estimated cost to restore or replace all inundated public roads, excluding Highway 132, is $170 million. FEMA covers 75% of the cost of eligible projects. No schedule or timeline is available for Pohoiki Road restoration.
The 2018 Kīlauea eruption covered about 13 miles of public roads in lower Puna.
- Work to restore Highway 132 began in June 2019, with funding reimbursement expected from the Federal Highway Administration.
- A temporary road was opened over some of the lava flows crossing Highway 137 in late 2018 to restore access to Isaac Hale Beach Park.
- Hawaiʻi County is seeking funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to restore or replace other impacted public roads under Section 428 of the agency’s Public Assistance program. FEMA would cover 75 percent of the costs, but it is not yet known when the funds will be approved.
Federal assistance is crucial to provide funding to complete the projects. In addition to seeking funding, the county’s planning process also includes assessments of risks from future volcanic activity along Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone and vulnerability of residents. Design, permitting and environmental reviews also are required. In general, federal funding cannot be used for temporary roads.
- As of August 2019, Hawai‘i Electric Light Co. was taking steps to restore power to its customers in the Highway 132 kipuka. Questions about timelines for additional restoration should be addressed to HELCO.
The Hawai‘i County Department of Water Supply lost about 14.5 miles of pipe as a result of the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. The water line went to Isaac Hale Beach Park via Pohoiki Road and followed Highway 137 to the Kapoho subdivisions.
Water Supply has no plans at this time to restore the water pipes since the infrastructure will not survive the high ground temperatures in the eruption area. Testing of a private well near Pohoiki Road showed the water to be brackish and not suitable for consumption or use at Isaac Hale Beach Park.
The Hawai‘i County Department of Parks and Recreation is exploring other ways to provide water to Isaac Hale Beach Park.
Following the 2018 Kīlauea Eruption, a Risk Assessment was commissioned by the County of Hawaiʻi. The stated outcome of this assessment is to understand hazard risks relative to vulnerability to inform long-term planning and decision-making.
Image via PDC: Volcanic Multi-hazard Risk Equation
- A hazard is defined as any agent that can cause harm or damage to humans, property, or the environment. Volcanic hazards include: lava flows, eruptive fissures, cinder cones, pit craters, graben and caldera faults, volcanic gas, and earthquakes.
- A risk is defined as the probability that exposure to a hazard will lead to a negative consequence.
- Vulnerability is the extent to which a person, household, business, community, or other social entity is likely to face negative outcomes from the exposure to environmental hazards and extreme events.
- Vulnerability factors can include housing and transportation, socioeconomic status, access to information and lifelines, and household composition.
For more information, visit our Lava Hazards Information page
The County requested the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) develop a risk assessment for the 2018 Kīlauea eruption to study the what the hazard exposures are and the socio-economic conditions that would contribute to associated risks. A final draft of the Kīlauea Eruption Risk Assessment (KERA) was delivered to the County, and is pending public release.
The KERA is one of several analyses that inform the forthcoming Kīlauea Recovery Strategic Plan, a draft of which is anticipated by end of 2019. The strategic plan will include strategies to mitigate hazard risk, reduce vulnerabilities, build complete communities, provide affordable housing, advance economic recovery, and address community needs.
For concept definitions and overview, visit the Lava Hazard Information page.
Disaster recovery is the fourth and longest-term phase in the National Disaster Recovery Framework, which also includes preparation/mitigation, response, and assistance.
Disaster recovery consists of both near- and long-term actions prioritized by need and feasibility, including regard for safety of citizens and first responders.
Recovery is a long-term, iterative process - meaning that recovery takes place in multiple phases which each phase informing activities in subsequent phases. Recovery can take anywhere from 5-10 years, depending on the scale and duration of the disaster.
The 2018 Kīlauea Eruption in the Lower East Rift Zone was unprecedented in scale and speed, resulting in extensive displacement of families and businesses, and the disruption of businesses throughout the Island of Hawaiʻi.
Recovery began in June 2018 and will involve continuing efforts to meet immediate and near-term needs, as well as long-term planning and implementation.
Events and impacts of this magnitude result in a "new normal" and present an opportunity to refresh and renew families, communities, and the environment.
Visit our 'Connect' page for specific ways to support ongoing recovery efforts.
Mayor Harry Kim asked the Department of Research & Development to lead the recovery program, and many other agencies are actively involved, including: Aging, Civil Defense, County Council, Corporation Counsel, Mayor’s Office, Office of Housing & Community Development, Parks & Recreation, Police, Planning, Public Works, and Water Supply. In addition, FEMA designated a Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator and Governor Ige also established a State Disaster Recovery Coordinator.
The recovery team will produce a wide range of inputs to decision makers such as the County Council and Mayor to guide long-term recovery decisions.
- Recovery is organized according to the National Disaster Recovery Framework recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Lines of activity are organized in six (6) Recovery Support Functions or RSF's. The Community Planning and Capacity Building RSF - which aims to build the community's capacity to plan and implement recovery actions - informs the other five: Health & Social Services, Housing, Infrastructure, Natural & Cultural Resources, and Economic.
Trespassers are entering my property to view the new lava fields and features or to cross the lava to access the coastline. What should I do to protect myself and my property from trespassers and liability?
There are a few actions you can take to protect your property from trespassers and liability:
- Private property should be clearly marked with 'No Trespassing' signs.
- Reports of trespassing should be reported promptly to the police along with available evidence and a request to press charges.
- Consult with an attorney to understand the extent of your liabilities and possible options.
Although FEMA and SBA financial assistance deadlines have passed, there are still ways to get recovery assistance:
- Register with HI-DARRT
- Coming soon: County of Hawaiʻi Disaster Case Management
- Disaster recovery takes place after an emergency and is characterized by actions taken to return to normalcy, secure financial assistance to pay for repairs, and restore individual and collective well-being. During recovery, it is also important to identify and implement actions to prepare for and mitigate (lessen) the effects of future disasters.
Recovery is coordinated by local government along with a wide range of community partners such as Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's) and social service providers. Because recovery affects a broad range of activities and stakeholders - or partners with a stake in recovery outcomes - it requires a foundation of shared understanding and collaboration.
Kīlauea Eruption recovery stakeholders include but are not limited to: Federal, State, and County government, individual residents and communities, and businesses, organizations, and coalitions.
Given there is no current emergency proclamation with specific prohibitions, all activities fall under laws and regulations that normally apply.
In this case, flight regulations are subject to the Federal Aviation Administration drone rules and regulations, and individual property rights regulate where drones can take off and land.
Visitors and members of the press are advised to obtain the proper permissions before flying drones over the affected area.
Hawaiʻi Island is comprised of 5 (five) volcanoes:
- Kīlauea (active, last eruption: 2018)
- Mauna Loa (active, last eruption: 1984)
- Hualalai (active, last eruption: 1801)
- Mauna Kea (dormant)
- Kohala (extinct)