The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last week awarded Florida $26.6 million in disaster relief funds as part of its Community Development Block Grant. HUD has awarded more than $6 billion in similar grants to several states and Puerto Rico over the past two years.
Last Thursday, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the allocation of $312 million to 13 states to invest in efforts to reduce the economic and physical effects of future disasters, as part of the Department’s Disaster Recovery Enhancement Fund. In a press release detailing the grants, Donovan said: “An ounce of prevention today can spare communities a world of hurt tomorrow. … We’re making a serious investment in our future by making certain that when disaster strikes, the impacted communities in these states can weather the storm.”
The press release cited an independent study by the National Institute of Building Sciences, which concluded that “every dollar spent on disaster mitigation activities saves taxpayers $4 in future disaster recovery expenses.” According to the news release, “The 13 states that received funding through the DREF invested nearly $876 million in disaster mitigation which translates into a total anticipated return on investment of more than $3.5 billion.”
Florida’s $26.6 million grant was the fourth largest. Oil spill-impacted Texas and Louisiana also receieved hefty allocations. A flood-stricken Iowa received more than $84 million, the largest of the grants announced last Thursday.