Conrad, Hoeven Continue Push for Additional Disaster Aid for Communities

Senators Urge Appropriations Committee Chairs and HUD Secretary for Additional Community Development Block Grants

Washington Senators Kent Conrad and John Hoeven today continued their push for additional disaster assistance to help North Dakota communities recover from floods. The Senators urged the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to direct additional Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to assist North Dakota communities with disaster recovery efforts.


In a letter to Senators Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Thad Cochran (R-MS), Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senators Conrad and Hoeven stress the importance of CDBG funding to North Dakota’s recovery efforts.  "We want to express our continued strong support for disaster relief funding and to reiterate, in particular, the need for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to respond fully to the disaster recovery needs in North Dakota,” the senators write.  “We deeply appreciate the Committee's inclusion of $400 million in CDBG funds as part of the Fiscal Year 2012 Transportation-HUD bill to respond to this year's disasters.  However, we believe that based on the damage in our state alone, this amount will be insufficient to fully respond."


In North Dakota alone, the state has identified at least $235 million in needs for CDBG funds for buy-outs of hundreds of flood impacted properties, home repair assistance, and infrastructure for new housing and business developments.  The North Dakota senators noted that CDBG has been important in so many recoveries from devastating disasters because it allows communities and states to tailor the funds to meet their unique needs and to fill in the gaps where other programs are not able to fully respond. 


The senators also pressed Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the  U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, for additional CDBG funds.  HUD oversees the CDBG program.


"North Dakota has proven its ability to be good stewards of the supplemental CDBG funds as was demonstrated following the 1997 flood,” the senators write to Secretary Donovan.  "We are working with our colleagues to provide the Department [HUD] with supplemental CDBG funds to assist the states and communities impacted by disasters this year.  If supplemental CDBG funds are provided to the Department, we want to work with you to make sure the recovery needs in North Dakota are met."


Assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Small Business Administration has been  helpful, but it is limited, and can only meet a fraction of the state's current needs.  CDBG is particularly helpful in responding to flooding in areas that are not expected to flood.  When disaster strikes in these areas, CDBG offers the best opportunity to aid individuals who have suffered devastating losses.