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Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery

At a Glance

  • The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced allocations of $83.84 million in Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to Hawai‘i County to support disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure, housing and economic revitalization. 
  • Release of funds remains pending. Program guidelines will be published in a forthcoming Federal Register Notice from HUD.
  • It is unknown when the Federal Register Notice will be published.
  • Upon release of the Federal Register Notice, the state or County will be eligible to apply for CDBG-DR funds.
  • CDBG-DR funds will be awarded following an approximate 90-120 day process that includes approval of the county’s Action Plan and execution of a grant agreement with HUD.


A presidential major disaster declaration allows HUD to provide flexible grants to help cities, counties and states recover from disasters. CDBG-DR funds are subject to the availability of supplemental appropriations by Congress and have restrictions as to use. HUD can allocate the funds via the State of Hawaiʻi or directly to the affected counties.

  • Grantees go through a rigorous application process prior to receiving CDBG-DR funds, including the development of a HUD-approved Action Plan. 
  • The County of Hawaiʻi is writing the Action Plan in collaboration with expert consultants and will put forward a draft for a required public review and comment period prior to submission. 
  • The Action Plan takes into account feedback received throughout the recovery process, including recommendations by the Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee and input received via public and online forums.

Program Requirements 

HUD has broad power to set restrictions on how the funds can be spent. Sometime after the CDBG-DR allocation is announced, HUD issues the program rules, regulations and guidelines in a Federal Register Notice. From the date of the Federal Register Notice, state or local governments have 90-120 days to prepare the following:

  • 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. 
  • Delivery of the Action Plan, which details the disaster impacts, unmet needs, programs and projects identified for grant implementation. 
  • Public Comment Period. The recipient 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.
  • DRGR Plan. A detailed spending plan is uploaded to HUD's grant management platform for approval prior to the initial expenditure of CDBG-DR funds.

Eligible Activities 

Subject to limitations that may be set in the Federal Register Notice, specific examples of CDBG-DR projects may include:

  • 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. 

Ineligible Activities

While the county has not yet been notified of the limitations that HUD will set for the CDBG-DR funds, HUD policies consider a number of activities ineligible for the funds, including:

  • If the project does not correspond to a disaster-related impact;
  • Restrictions as identified in the appropriation law;
  • Ineligible per CDBG regulations and existing HUD regulations unless waived by HUD, e.g. vertical construction;
  • If the project does not meet national CDBG objectives;
  • HUD policies may restrict as to type of projects allowed, e.g. non-public facilities in Lava Hazard Zones 1 & 2.

Actionable Items 

While awaiting the Federal Register Notice, the county is engaged in the following activities to meet the impending requirements: 

  • Implementation of an Interim Recovery Strategy.
  • Completion of the Action Planning Process, resulting in a Recovery Strategic Plan that includes
    • Economic Recovery Report
    • Recovery scenarios and strategies relative to risk
  • Engagement of the broader Puna community to prioritize established General Plan and Community Development Plan (CDP) goals, followed by defined objectives.
  • 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.

For Further Assistance