SECTION 3: Action Plan & Implementation

This section includes guidance on developing a CDBG-DR Action Plan in response to the Consolidated Notice, including steps to take when submitting the required pre-award submissions, the Implementation Plan, and the Public Action Plan. This section also moves into the Implementation phase of projects and activities, and includes relevant guidance on resilience planning and best practices when incorporating mitigation into long-term recovery.

Action Plan Development

Fair Housing, Civil Rights Data & Advancing Equity

Applicable Fair Housing and Civil Rights Laws

A CDBG-DR grantee must use its CDBG-DR funds in a manner that complies with its fair housing and civil rights obligations, including title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 109 of the Housing and Community Development Act. For more information on these laws. 

The Fair Housing act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), familial status, and disability in housing related transactions.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act (and Section 109 of the HCDA) prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national original. Relevant to the CDBG program, these civil rights laws prohibit grantees from using allocation criteria or otherwise administering the grant in a manner that has the effect of discriminating based on race, color, or national origin. As discussed below, Title VI also requires that grantees take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access for individuals with limited English proficiency.

Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in federally assisted programs or activities, including any program or activity that receives financial assistance from HUD. CDBG-DR Grantees are required to comply with Section 504. HUD’s regulations for Section 504 that apply to federally assisted programs or activities may be found at 24 CFR § 8.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), like Section 504, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, however, its applicability is not dependent on the receipt of federal financial assistance. Title II of the ADA covers the programs, activities, and services provided by public entities, including any housing, developed or operated by states or units of local government. Title III of the ADA prohibits private entities that own, lease, and operate places of public accommodation from discriminating on the basis of disability and requires places of public accommodation and commercial facilities to be designed, constructed, and altered to be accessible.

Section 504 and the ADA also requires that grantees take appropriate steps to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities.

Civil Rights Data Analyses to Advance Equity

The Consolidated Notice requires grantees to provide an assessment in the action plan of whether their planned use of CDBG-DR funds will have an unjustified discriminatory effect on or failure to benefit racial and ethnic minorities in proportion to their communities’ needs, particularly in racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty. The grantee must also address how the recovery needs of impacted individuals with disabilities will be met. For example, the grantee may establish an exception to its maximum award amounts for beneficiaries with disabilities in order to adequately rehabilitate or reconstruct a home to meet or exceed ADA requirements.

To adequately create the assessment, the grantee must include the following data (when available) in all HUD- and grantee-identified MID areas.

  • Racial and ethnic make-up of the population, including sub-populations depending on activities and programs proposed by the grantee in the action plan.

  • LEP populations, including the number and percentage of each identified group.

  • The number and percentage of persons with disabilities, persons belonging to a Federally protected class, and other vulnerable populations.

  • Indigenous populations and tribal communities.

  • Racially and ethnically concentrated areas.

  • Concentrated areas of poverty.

  • Historically underserved communities.

In addition, grantees must identify the proximity of natural and environmental hazards (e.g., industrial corridors, sewage treatment facilities, waterways, EPA superfund sites, brownfields, etc.) to affected populations in the MID area, including members of protected classes, vulnerable populations, and underserved communities and explore how CDBG–DR activities may mitigate environmental concerns and increase resilience among these populations to protect against the effects of extreme weather events and other natural hazards.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

Grantees must also describe how their use of funds is consistent with the obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. This means that, in using their CDBG-DR funds, grantees must take meaningful actions, in addition to combating discrimination, to overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics. Consistent with this obligation, grantees are encouraged to consider how their proposed allocations, selection criteria, and other actions can be expected to advance equity for groups protected by the Fair Housing Act. For additional information on the AFFH obligation, grantees can refer to 24 CFR 5.151 and HUD’s AFFH page, available here, which includes a variety of AFFH-related resources, including the Fair Housing Planning Guide and AFFH Rule Guidebook.

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Grantees are reminded that the term “vulnerable populations” may include members of protected classes but may not be fully inclusive of all protected classes. For example, members of vulnerable populations might include the elderly, persons with disabilities, persons with alcohol or other drug addiction, persons with HIV/ AIDS and their families, individuals and families that are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and public housing residents. In contrast, federally protected classes prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. Therefore, grantees should clearly indicate its definition of vulnerable populations in the action plan, especially as it relates to the data in the grantee’s impact and unmet needs assessment.

Grantees must describe how they will use the data to make funding decisions to advance equity and reduce barriers that individuals may face when enrolling in and accessing disaster recovery assistance. Grantees must identify the increased coordination and engagement that will be undertaken to assess the needs of these populations in the MID areas to provide equal opportunities for disaster recovery assistance and must describe how they will address the unmet needs of these populations, including other disaster recovery activities beyond housing.

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Equity Considerations to Prevent Civil Rights Violations and to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing

BEST PRACTICES:

Grantees are strongly encouraged to include examples of how their proposed allocations, selection criteria, and other actions can be expected to advance equity for protected class groups, as well as to explain and provide examples of how actions can be expected to advance the objectives listed below.

  • Equitably benefit protected class groups in the MID areas, including racial and ethnic minorities, and sub geographies in the MID areas in which residents belonging to such groups are concentrated;

  • To the extent consistent with purposes and uses of CDBG-DR funds, overcome prior disinvestment in infrastructure and public services for protected class groups, and areas in which residents belonging to such groups are concentrated, when addressing unmet needs;

  • Enhance for individuals with disabilities in the MID areas (a) the accessibility of disaster preparedness, resilience, or recovery services, including the accessibility of evacuation services and shelters; (b) the provision of critical disaster-related information in accessible formats; and/or (c) the availability of integrated, accessible housing and supportive services.

Physical Accessibility Requirements

HUD’s regulations implementing Section 504 provide that no qualified individual with disabilities shall be denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving HUD funding because the facilities are inaccessible to or unusable by individuals with disabilities (24 CFR § 8.20). HUD’s Section 504 regulations set forth minimum physical accessibility requirements that must be met for new construction, alterations, and existing housing and non-housing facilities (24 CFR §§ 8.20, 8.21, 8.22, 8.23, 8.24, 8.29).

For new construction or substantial alterations of a multifamily housing project, a minimum of 5 percent of the total dwelling units, or at least one unit (whichever is greater), must be made accessible for individuals with mobility impairments, and an additional 2 percent of the units, or at least one unit (whichever is greater), must be made accessible for individuals with hearing or vision impairments. Compliance with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) or HUD’s Notice on “Instructions for use of alternative accessibility standard” (“Deeming Notice”), https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2014-05-23/pdf/2014-11844.pdf are deemed to comply with the technical accessibility requirements of HUD’s Section 504 regulation (24 CFR § 8.32). Projects must also comply with requirements regarding the dispersal and tenanting of accessible housing units (24 CFR §§ 8.26, 8.27).

For more information on federal accessibility laws.

Communication Obligations

As a reminder, grantees must consider the availability and accessibility of their websites, documents, emails, and digital notifications for individuals with disabilities and individuals with LEP. The grantee must make the action plan, any substantial amendments, vital documents, and all performance reports available to the public on its website.

Section 504 and the ADA require that grantees take appropriate steps to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities. Effective communication is generally provided through the use of appropriate auxiliary aids and services, such as interpreters, computer-assisted real time transcription (CART), captioned videos with audible video description, accessible electronic communications and websites, and documents in alternative formats.

The Grantee must ensure that the posting of documents on its website, including its action plan, substantial amendments, vital documents, and performance reports are accessible to individuals with disabilities. For additional information on creating accessible digital products, including documents and presentations, we recommend referring to the GSA’s trainings and related guidance materials on its Section 508 compliance page.

Under Title VI, grantees take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access for individuals with limited English proficiency Persons who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English can be limited English proficient, or ‘‘LEP,’’ and may be entitled to language assistance with respect to a particular type of service, benefit, or encounter.

Grantees should use the four factor analysis as a safe harbor to ensure accessibility. The four factors are: (1) the number or proportion of LEP persons eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by the program or grantee; (2) the frequency with which LEP persons come in contact with the program; (3) the nature and importance of the program, activity, or service provided by the program to people’s lives; and (4) the resources available to the grantee/ recipient and costs. The four factors are intended to ensure meaningful access by LEP persons to critical services while not imposing undue burdens on small business, small local governments, or small nonprofit entities.

After applying the four-factor analysis, a recipient may conclude that different language assistance measures are sufficient for the different types of programs or activities in which it engages. For assistance in ensuring that this information is available to LEP population, and what vital documents should be included, recipients should consult the Final Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI, Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons, published on January 22, 2007, in the Federal Register (72 FR 2732).

Grantees are also reminded LEP persons are not the only consideration when making documents available and accessible. Documents must also meet accessibility standards and provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities. See the information below in the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and physical accessibility section of this document.

Additionally, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity has a number of resources available to assist CDBG-DR grantees which can be viewed here.

A Guide on How CDBG-DR Grantees Can Meet the Requirements of the Consolidated Notice