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Breaking Down CDBG-DR Spending

HUD’s Community Development Block Grant, Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program supports long-term recovery efforts for disaster-impacted areas. Since its first use in 1993, the CDBG-DR program has awarded about $100 billion in long-term disaster recovery funding across the country.

What States Have Received CDBG-DR Funding?

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Click here to download a PDF with total allocations for all states and territories.

While the bulk of CDBG-DR funding has gone to a handful of states and territories, all but seven states have received at least some funding. Of those that have received CDBG-DR funding, 30 states and two territories have received at least $100 million since 2001.

What Can CDBG-DR Spending Be Used For?

CDBG-DR grants are flexible, allowing grantees to fund projects that best support their recovery needs. Spending for the program generally falls under one of the four categories below.

Unlike for the traditional Community Development Block Grant program, HUD does not provide easily accessible data on total spending by activity, so it is unclear what percentage of spending goes to housing compared to infrastructure or community development.[1]

How Is CDBG-DR Different Than the CDBG Program?

CDBG-DR is a source of supplemental funding for HUD’s traditional CDBG program. While CDBG-DR is the most common source of supplemental funding for CDBG, it largely operates as a separate program with some important distinctions, outlined below.

What Role Does CDBG-DR Play in Relation to Other Disaster Assistance Programs?

Constraints on FEMA and SBA Assistance

Given the constraints on FEMA and SBA assistance, communities generally have outstanding needs for long-term disaster recovery in the wake of devastating natural disasters. CDBG-DR provides important complementary value, targeting assistance to low- and moderate-income households in order to meet housing and community development needs, integrate mitigation and resilience, and reach communities that were unable to access sufficient support through FEMA and SBA.

What Causes Delays for CDBG-DR Allocations?

CDBG-DR has never been authorized in statute, so Congress must approve funding for each disaster through supplemental appropriations acts. HUD then must develop regulations for every appropriation. The process of disbursing funds—from when the disaster hits, to when impacted communities receive assistance—has many steps that can delay recovery efforts and result in varied timelines by disaster and grantees. For example, after earthquakes in Puerto Rico in late 2019, it took HUD until 655 days after the disaster declaration to make a CDBG-DR allocation.

Read more about CDBG-DR timelines in BPC’s previous blog.


Permanently authorizing the CDBG-DR program would eliminate the lengthy delays often associated with developing and issuing the appropriation-specific Federal Register notices used to manage CDBG-DR funds, providing communities affected by disasters with greater certainty and predictability.

BPC Action has more on legislative efforts to codify CDBG-DR.

Read this fact sheet from BPC Action.

[1] Although detailed HUD data on CDBG-DR spending by activity is not readily accessible, there are estimates and analyses available regarding project spending allocations. For instance, the ‘Housing Recovery and CDBG-DR: A Review of the Timing and Factors Associated with Housing Activities in HUD’s Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery Program’ HUD report and BPC Survey of HUD CDBG-DR Grantees.

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