The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is making changes to the way it gives out disaster aid but it’s unclear how the changes will affect Iowa cities like Cedar Rapids that were hit hard by flooding.
The federal agency is changing the 30-year old formula it uses to distribute so-called Community Development Block Grants — money that can be spent on things ranging from rehabbing homes to buying them out.
Cedar Rapids city manager Jim Prosser says they’ve received about 30-million dollars in grant money but he says that’s not enough and it’s needed to begin buyouts. "What we’re missing is funding, critical funding, to allow us to progress to the next stages which really gets down to property acquisition," Prosser says.
The change in the federal formula could put more restrictions on the money — exactly what Prosser says they don’t need. Prosser says, "We need more funding quicker and with less restriction to allow us to actually implement those plans. We’re confident that we’ll get it but we just wish we could get it quicker."
HUD representatives say the department is not ready to announce the new funding formula or how the money will be restricted.