SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--California will receive more than $212 million in federal funding for disaster recovery efforts following the 2017 fire season, which destroyed thousands of homes, charred more than half-a-million acres and caused more than $12 billion in damages.
The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program, which provides grants – primarily for the benefit of low- and moderate-income residents – to rebuild in presidentially declared disaster areas. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is expected to distribute the funding to local jurisdictions.
Typically, such funding is used for repair and reconstruction of fire-damaged private homes, building resilience and hazard mitigation, public water and sewer infrastructure, and other recovery work.
“This funding provides an important portion of the assistance necessary for the long-term recovery of California communities devastated by a series of natural disasters, but much more is still required,” said HCD Director Ben Metcalf.
“Thanks to this special appropriation,” said Regional Administrator Jimmy Stracner, “HUD is committing significant resources toward meeting the unmet needs of communities devastated by the 2017 wildfires in Northern and Southern California and mitigating community-level impacts of future disasters.”
In October 2017 a series of wildfires erupted in Northern California, engulfing 100 square miles, destroying more than 8,900 structures and devastating more than 245,000 acres of land. The fires also resulted in 44 deaths.
Then, in December 2017, another series of wildfires broke out in Southern California and spread quickly because of strong winds and dry brush. That fire destroyed hundreds of homes and other structures, burned almost 300,000 acres and caused widespread power outages. A month later, a storm system dropped substantial precipitation on the newly-burned areas in Southern California and caused devastating flash flooding, erosion and substantial mud and debris flows throughout the burn scar area. This event resulted in 21 fatalities, caused critical damage to infrastructure, destroyed homes, and forced the evacuation of residents.
These disasters compounded an already urgent need for affordable housing. In some counties nearly half the displaced households were renters. With vacancy rates of less than two percent prior to the disasters, renters have few long-term housing options in the disaster areas.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development is dedicated to the preservation and expansion of safe and affordable housing so more Californians have a place to call home. Our team works to ensure an adequate supply of housing for Californians and promotes the growth of strong communities through its leadership, policy and program development. For more information, please visit www.hcd.ca.gov.