The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the economies of states and localities across the country and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is urging officials to use Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to support their response efforts.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, and includes $5 billion for the Community Development Fund. The CARES Act provides flexibility that makes it easier to use 2019 and 2020 CDBG Grants for pandemic response, including the possibility for waivers and alternative requirements.
On April 9, 2020, HUD’s Community Planning and Development’s (CPD) Acting Assistant Secretary John Gibbs released a memorandum transmitting the guide “CARES Act Flexibilities for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds Used to Support Coronavirus Response.” The memorandum grants waivers and provides instructions on how a grantee may submit an action plan amendment for allocated CDBG coronavirus response (CDBG-CV) funds. The expedited process allows a grantee to incorporate CDBG-CV funds within its most recent annual action plan (FY2019 or FY2020).
The requirements HUD is waiving include updates to housing and homelessness needs assessments, housing market analysis, and strategic and consolidated action plans. In an effort to further expedite the use of CDBG-CV funds, action plans will not be restricted to a specific program year. All submission requirements are outlined in the memorandum.
Local governments should coordinate with the community’s public health officials to determine the needs of the community. Grantees and applicants should prepare their plans as soon as possible so they can receive the funding they need to support their communities.
Activities eligible for CDBG-CV funding include but are not limited to:
- Building clinics or other facilities for testing, diagnosis and treatment
- Purchasing, repairing, or building public works facilities
- Repurposing a closed school or commercial building as a care facility
- Utilizing hotels or motels to expand hospital capacity and accommodate individuals who need to self-isolate
- Providing economic assistance to local businesses
- Supporting continuation of business to create jobs
- Manufacturing medical supplies
- Addressing a community’s increased need for public services
IEM is available to assist communities in their COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. IEM’s multidisciplinary Coronavirus Recovery Task Force is composed of disaster recovery, health, public policy, economic development, information and data technology, and regulatory experts with unparalleled experience and insight. Together, our tenured team endured past crises and understands the complexities faced by state, local, tribal and territorial governments as they navigate these new and disruptive circumstances. Contact us to learn more about how IEM could assist your COVID-19 recovery.