Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge testifies on Capitol Hill in June.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge testifies on Capitol Hill in June. J. Scott Applewhite / AP

HUD Cuts ‘Red Tape’ for Hurricane Ida Victims

Department announces a package of 27 administrative and regulatory waivers.

The Housing and Urban Development Department announced on Tuesday how it’s cutting “red tape” to help victims of Hurricane Ida. 

Ida was a deadly, category 4 hurricane from late August to early September that struck Louisiana (and tied for the strongest hurricane to hit the state), leaving hundreds of thousands without power and causing record-breaking rainfall and massive flooding in the Northeast. There have been at least 72 deaths across nine states, according to The Weather Channel. Since the start of the disaster, the Biden administration has been emphasizing its “whole-of-government” approach to the response effort. In line with that, HUD announced a package of 27 administrative and regulatory waivers, which is one of the largest the department has ever issued at one time. 

“HUD is doing everything in its power to ensure that our response to the devastation of Hurricane Ida meets the magnitude of the crisis,” said HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, in a statement. “With these waivers, we are giving our state and local partners the flexibility they need to more expeditiously recover and rebuild from the storm.” 

The waivers cover the following programs from the department: the Community Development Block Grant Program; HOME Investment Partnerships Program; Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program; and Emergency Solutions Grant Program. 

One example of a flexibility is that “HUD is allowing for an abbreviated public comment requirement on changes to a grantee’s community redevelopment plans,” which “balances the need to help local communities more quickly while continuing to provide reasonable notice and opportunity for citizens to comment on the proposed uses of funds,” said a press release. Another is “to accelerate new housing construction, HUD is suspending normal rules to enable [Community Development Block Grant Program] grantees to replace affordable housing units that were lost as a result of hurricanes and flooding.”

A September 3 memo by James Arthur Jemison II, principal deputy assistant secretary for Community Planning and Development, further outlines the waivers as well as the process for how grantees can sign up to use the flexibilities. The memo notes that HUD has already issued certain waivers and flexibilities due to the coronavirus pandemic that those affected by the hurricane can also use. 

Ida was the ninth named storm this year. During a speech in Queens, New York on Tuesday, President Biden said that this summer one in three Americans was affected by extreme weather

“The evidence is clear: climate change poses an existential threat to our lives, to our economy,” said the president. “We got to listen to the scientists and the economists and the national security experts. They all tell us this is code red; the nation and the world are in peril. And that's not hyperbole. That is a fact.” 

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