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Notice

Allocations and Waivers Granted to and Alternative Requirements for CDBG Disaster Recovery Grantees Under Chapter 9 of Title II of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery, 2006

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AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary, HUD.

ACTION:

Notice of allocation, waivers, and alternative requirements.

SUMMARY:

This Notice advises the public of the allocations for grant funds for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) disaster recovery grants for the purpose of assisting in the recovery in the most impacted and distressed areas related to the consequences of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005. As described in the Supplementary Information section of this notice, HUD is authorized by statute to waive statutory and regulatory requirements and specify alternative requirements for this purpose, upon the request of the State grantees. This notice also describes the application and reporting waivers and the common alternative requirements for the grants made under the subject appropriations act.

DATES:

Effective Date: November 6, 2006.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Jan C. Opper, Director, Disaster Recovery and Special Issues Division, Office of Block Grant Assistance, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street, SW., Room 7286, Washington, DC 20410, telephone number (202) 708-3587. Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. FAX inquiries may be sent to Mr. Opper at (202) 401-2044. (Except for the “800” number, these telephone numbers are not toll-free.)

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Authority To Grant Waivers

Chapter 9 of Title II of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery, 2006 (Pub. L. 109-234, approved June 15, 2006) (Public Law 109-234) appropriates $5.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant funds for necessary expenses related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure directly related to the consequences of the covered disasters. Public Law 109-234 authorizes the Secretary to waive, or specify alternative requirements for, any provision of any statute or regulation that the Secretary administers in connection with the obligation by the Secretary or use by the recipient of these funds and guarantees, except for requirements related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and the environment, upon a request by the State and a finding by the Secretary that such a waiver would not be inconsistent with the overall purpose of the statute. The following application and reporting waivers and alternative requirements are in response to requests from the States receiving an allocation under this notice.

The Secretary finds that the following waivers and alternative requirements, as described below, are not inconsistent with the overall purpose of Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended, or the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act, as amended.

Under the requirements of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 3535(q)), regulatory waivers must be published in the Federal Register.

Except as described in this and other notices applicable to this grant, statutory and regulatory provisions governing the Community Development Block Grant program for States, including those at 24 CFR part 570, shall apply to the use of these funds. In accordance with Public Law 109-234, HUD will reconsider every waiver in this notice on the two-year anniversary of the day this notice is published. Start Printed Page 63338

Allocations

Public Law 109-234 (effective June 15, 2006) provides $5.2 billion of supplemental appropriation for the CDBG program for:

necessary expenses related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure in the most impacted and distressed areas related to the consequences of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, or Wilma.

The law further notes:

That funds provided under this heading shall be administered through an entity or entities designated by the Governor of each State. And that: No State shall receive more than $4.2 billion of the amount provided under this heading.

As provided for in Public Law 109-234, the funds may not be used for activities reimbursable by or for which funds are made available by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the Army Corps of Engineers. Further, none of the funds made available under this heading may be used by a State or locality as a matching requirement, share, or contribution for any other Federal program.

Also as required by the law, not less than $1.0 billion of the $5.2 billion appropriation less $27.0 million in administrative set-asides (which computes to 19.3311 percent of any State's allocation) shall be used for repair, rehabilitation, and reconstruction (including demolition, site clearance and remediation) of the affordable rental housing stock (including public and other HUD-assisted housing) in the impacted areas. Therefore, HUD is requiring that not less than 19.3311 percent of each State's grant be used for these activities.

From this supplemental appropriation, the Secretary is allocating funds as follows.

StateDisasterAllocation amount ($)
AlabamaHurricane Katrina (FEMA-1605-DR)$21,225,574
FloridaHurricane Katrina (FEMA-1602-DR), Hurricane Wilma (FEMA-1609-DR)100,066,518
LouisianaHurricane Katrina (FEMA-1603-DR), Hurricane Rita (FEMA-1607-DR)4,200,000,000
MississippiHurricane Katrina (FEMA-1604-DR)423,036,059
TexasHurricane Rita (FEMA-1606-DR)428,671,849
StateMinimum amount for affordable rental housing ($)
Alabama$4,103,146
Florida19,344,001
Louisiana811,907,984
Mississippi81,777,703
Texas82,867,166

The amounts in the table directly above are the minimum required for each State to use of its allocation from Public Law 109-234 for repair, rehabilitation, and reconstruction (including demolition, site clearance and remediation) of the affordable rental housing stock (including public and other HUD-assisted housing) in the impacted areas.

In Louisiana, the Department has reviewed data chronicling the massive impact of the disasters on affordable rental housing, including public housing, in the areas of the State most affected by disasters. In light of the unprecedented housing needs resulting from the disasters, the Secretary is carrying out his statutory duty to ensure that priority has been given to identified affordable rental housing by providing an alternative requirement. HUD is requiring that, before the State of Louisiana expends any funds to meet the minimum requirement for affordable rental housing under this notice (see table above), the Governor of Louisiana shall demonstrate to the Secretary's satisfaction that the State will provide funds or has identified dedicated resources sufficient to meet the key disaster recovery needs for repair, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of affordable rental housing stock, including public housing, in the most impacted areas of the State.

HUD invites each State receiving an allocation to submit an Action Plan for Disaster Recovery in accordance with this notice.

The appropriations statute requires funds be used only for disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure in the most impacted and distressed areas related to the consequences of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005. The statute directs that each grantee will describe in its Action Plan for Disaster Recovery how the use of the grant funds gives priority to infrastructure development and rehabilitation and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affordable rental housing stock including public and other HUD-assisted housing. HUD will monitor compliance with this direction and may be compelled to disallow expenditures if it finds uses of funds are not disaster-related, or funds allocated duplicate other benefits.

For the State of Louisiana, which suffered major impacts from two different hurricanes, HUD estimates that over 85 percent of the major and severe damage due to those storms is in the New Orleans-Metairie-Bogalusa Metropolitan Area (Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. Tammany Parishes). HUD therefore expects that the State will target a substantial majority of its disaster recovery funds under Pub. L. 109-234 toward the disaster recovery needs in the New Orleans-Metairie-Bogalusa Metropolitan Area, and has included an alternative requirement to that effect.

Prevention of Fraud, Abuse, and Duplication of Benefits

The statute also directs the Secretary to:

Establish procedures to prevent recipients from receiving any duplication of benefits and report quarterly to the Committees on Appropriations with regard to all steps taken to prevent fraud and abuse of funds made available under this heading including duplication of benefits.

To meet this directive, HUD is pursuing five courses of action. First, this notice makes applicable specific reporting, written procedures, monitoring, and internal audit requirements for grantees. Second, to the extent its resources allow, HUD will institute risk analysis and on-site monitoring of grantee management of the grants and of the specific uses of funds. Third, HUD will be extremely cautious in considering any waiver related to basic financial management requirements. The standard, time-tested CDBG financial requirements will continue to apply. Fourth, HUD is collaborating with the HUD Office of Inspector General to plan and implement oversight of these funds. Fifth, HUD will follow the direction of the conference report, 109-494, and apply $6 million of funds appropriated for the Working Capital Fund for “immediate enhancement of the capabilities of the Disaster Recovery Grant Reporting system by building Start Printed Page 63339additional electronic controls that will increase accountability while further decreasing the risk of fraud, waste, or abuse.”

Waiver Justification

In general, waivers already granted to the States and alternative requirements already specified for CDBG disaster recovery grant funds provided under the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006 (Pub. L. 109-148, approved December 30, 2005) (Appropriations Act) will also apply to grant funds provided under Public Law 109-234. This eliminates unnecessary inconsistencies in administration of the two grants and thus reduces the opportunities for technical errors. The notices in which these prior waivers and alternative requirements appear are 71 FR 7666, published February 13, 2006 (all five States); 71 FR 34448 (for Alabama), 71 FR 34451 (for Mississippi), and 71 FR 34457 (for Louisiana), all published June 14, 2006; 71 FR 43622, published August 1, 2006 (for Texas); 71 FR 51678 (for Florida), published August 30, 2006; and 71 FR 62372 (for Mississippi), published October 24, 2006, except that the provisions of paragraph four of the latter notice do not apply to the funds allocated under Pub. L. 109-234.

In addition to making applicable the requirements cited above, this notice specifies and provides for differences in program rules, waivers, or alternative requirements that are necessary due to the provisions of Public Law 109-234.

The provisions of this notice do not apply to funds provided under the regular CDBG program. The provisions provide additional flexibility in program design and implementation and implement statutory requirements unique to this appropriation.

Application for Allocation

The waivers and alternative requirements related to a State's application for its allocation are those delineated in a notice entitled, “Allocations and Common Application and Reporting Waivers Granted to and Alternative Requirements for CDBG Disaster Recovery Grantees Under the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006,” published February 13, 2006 71 (FR 7666), with the changes noted below. HUD encourages each State receiving an allocation to submit an Action Plan for Disaster Recovery to HUD within 60 days of the publication date of this notice.

New elements added to the State's Action Plan for Disaster Recovery include a description of how the State will give priority to infrastructure development and rehabilitation and how the State will give priority to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affordable rental housing stock including public and other HUD-assisted housing. The State must also explain how its choices for fund use will result in the State meeting the requirement to use not less than 19.3311 percent of its allocation for repair, rehabilitation, and reconstruction (including demolition, site clearance and remediation) of the affordable rental housing stock (including public and other HUD-assisted housing) in the impacted areas. The explanation should include how the State has considered the unique challenges that individuals with disabilities face in finding accessible and affordable housing.

Applicable Rules, Statutes, Waivers, and Alternative Requirements

1. General note. Except as described in this notice, the statutory, regulatory, and notice provisions that shall apply to the use of these funds are:

a. Those governing the funds appropriated under the Appropriations Act and already published in the Federal Register, including those in notices 71 FR 7666, published February 13, 2006 (for all five States); 71 FR 34448 (for Alabama), 71 FR 34451 (for Mississippi), and 71 FR 34457 (for Louisiana), all published June 14, 2006; 71 FR 43622 for Texas, published August 1, 2006; 71 FR 51678 (for Florida), published on August 30, 2006; and 71 FR 62372 (for Mississippi), published October 24, 2006, except that the provisions of paragraph four of the latter notice do not apply to the funds allocated under Public Law 109-234; and

b. Those governing the Community Development Block Grant program for States, including those at 42 U.S.C. 5301 et seq. and 24 CFR part 570.

2. Action Plan additional elements. a. In addition to the waivers and alternative requirements published in the “Allocations and Common Application and Reporting Waivers Granted to and Alternative Requirements for CDBG Disaster Recovery Grantees Under the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2006” notice published February 13, 2006, the disaster recovery grantees receiving funding under Public Law 109-234 must add the items in paragraph b below to those described in paragraph number 7 on page 7669 of that notice regarding the information required in the State's overall plan for disaster recovery for use of funds under Public Law 109-234.

b. The grantee's overall plan for disaster recovery will also include:

(i) An explanation of how the State will give priority to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the affordable rental housing stock including public and other HUD-assisted housing, a description of the activities the State plans to undertake with grant funds under this priority, and a description of the unique challenges that individuals with disabilities face in finding accessible and affordable housing;

(ii) An explanation of how the State will give priority to infrastructure development and rehabilitation, and a description of the infrastructure activities it plans to undertake with grant funds; and

(iii) An explanation of how the method of distribution or use of funds described in accordance with the applicable notices will result in the State meeting the requirement that at least 19.3311 percent of its allocation under this notice shall be used for repair, rehabilitation, and reconstruction (including demolition, site clearance and remediation) of the affordable rental housing stock (including public and other HUD-assisted housing) in the impacted areas.

3. Note that use of grant funds must relate to the covered disaster(s). In addition to being eligible under 42 U.S.C. 5305(a) of this notice and meeting a CDBG national objective under the penultimate paragraph of 42 U.S.C. 5304(b)(3), Public Law 109-234 requires that activities funded under this notice must also be for necessary expenses related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, and restoration of infrastructure in the most impacted and distressed areas related to the consequences of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in communities included in Presidential disaster declarations.

4. Alternative Requirements Regarding Targeting in Louisiana. a. The State of Louisiana will target 70 percent of its disaster recovery funds under Pub. L. 109-234 towards the disaster recovery needs in the New Orleans-Metairie-Bogalusa Metropolitan Area; and

b. Before the State of Louisiana expends any funds to meet the minimum requirement for affordable rental housing under this notice, the Governor of Louisiana shall demonstrate to the Secretary's satisfaction that the State will provide funds or has identified dedicated resources sufficient to meet the key disaster recovery needs for repair, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of affordable rental housing stock, including public housing Start Printed Page 63340disaster recovery in the most impacted areas of the State.

5. Information collection approval note. HUD has approval for information collection requirements in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520) under OMB control number 2506-0165, which expires August 31, 2007. In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, HUD may not conduct or sponsor, nor is a person required to respond to, a collection of information unless the collection displays a valid control number.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance numbers for the disaster recovery grants under this notice are as follows: 14.219; 14.228.

Finding of No Significant Impact

A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) with respect to the environment has been made in accordance with HUD regulations at 24 CFR part 50, which implement section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332). The FONSI is available for public inspection between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays in the Office of the Rules Docket Clerk, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street, SW., Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410-0500. Due to security measures at the HUD Headquarters building, please schedule an appointment to review the finding by calling the Regulations Division at (202) 708-3055 (this is not a toll-free number).

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Dated: October 25, 2006.

Roy A. Bernardi,

Deputy Secretary.

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[FR Doc. 06-8978 Filed 10-26-06; 1:56 pm]

BILLING CODE 4210-67-P