HUD approves disaster mitigation plan to build resilience to future wildfires, greenlights proposed uses of disaster mitigation funds

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today signed off on California’s second Community Development Block Grant Mitigation Program Action Plan, approving the state’s proposed uses of previously-allocated disaster mitigation funds to build resilience to future wildfires.

“As conflagrations in California continue to force evacuations and destroy communities, we recognize the urgency of building resilience to future wildfires,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “HUD’s approval of California’s Action Plan brings the state one step closer to investing its federal funds in mitigation activities to protect communities from the damage of future disasters and support public safety. HUD looks forward to continuing to work with California so that they can get their disaster mitigation funds out the door as soon as possible.”

In 2017 and 2018, HUD awarded California CDBG-MIT funds totaling $106,554,272 for resilient infrastructure, $38,926,378 for planning and public services and $7,645,350 for administration of the funds. With HUD’s approval of California’s second Action Plan – submitted to the department on July 9, 2021 – the state can expend the 2018 funds, once obligated, on the disaster mitigation activities proposed in its plan. California’s 2017 CDBG-MIT allocations were obligated on Aug. 14, 2020.

Specifically, HUD today approved California’s proposal to allocate:

Approximately $45.2 million from the 2018 allocation for infrastructure needs that meet the definition of mitigation activities.

Local jurisdictions will receive funds for mitigation projects to support risk reduction from three primary hazards (wildfire, flooding, and earthquake). Potential projects include:

  • Roadway improvements for ingress/egress and evacuation routes;
  • Fuel breaks and reduction measures;
  • Watershed management activities;
  • Defensible space;
  • Hardening of communication systems; and
  • Flood drainage measures.

Approximately $16.5 million from the 2018 allocation to support public education and awareness related to risks and vulnerabilities and actions that can be taken to prepare for future disasters. Projects for planning and public services may address risks to, or across, community lifelines that support human health and safety and provide mitigation for individual and community-based systems. Potential projects include:

  • Creation of or updates to Community Wildfire Protection Plans;
  • Addition of resilience or safety elements to comprehensive plans;
  • Establishment of outreach and educational campaigns; and
  • Funding for local governments and non-profit organizations to perform additional services to inform the public on resilient-minded activities.

Approximately $3.2 million from the 2018 allocation for costs necessary for the general administration of the CDBG-MIT grant.

The Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds are a unique and significant opportunity for eligible grantees to use disaster mitigation funds appropriated by Congress in areas impacted by recent disasters to carry out strategic and high-impact activities to mitigate disaster risks and reduce future losses. Grantees must submit a CDBG-MIT Action Plan developed with community input prior to expending CDBG-MIT funds.