SECTION 4: Cross-Cutting Requirements

Besides the rules and requirements specific to CDBG-DR, there are several broad Federal rules that must be followed when implementing programs with CDBG-DR funds. Grantees, their subrecipients, and contractors must be aware of these requirements and ensure that any activities are in compliance. The Guidebook covers the following areas: Environmental & Related Requirements; the URA, Section 104(d) and Related Relocation Requirements; Davis-Bacon & Related Acts; and the Section 3 Final Rule.

Environmental & Related Requirements

This section provides environmental resources and an overview of the environmental requirements covered by HUD’s regulations at 24 CFR Part 50 and 58. In addition to Federal requirements, state and local laws may also apply.

In HUD’s CDBG-DR Toolkit, a table of cross-cutting and federal requirements with regulatory references can be found here. Below is additional guidance to assist grantees in promoting effective and sustainable recovery.

Environmental Review

All CDBG-DR grantees must complete an environmental and historic preservation compliance review before committing funds or beginning recovery activities. Generally, CDBG-DR appropriations acts prohibit HUD from waiving these requirements. HUD regulations at 24 CFR 58 allow the assumption of authority to perform the environmental reviews by responsible entities, which are units of general local government, such as a town, city, county, tribe, or state. Usually, the state will assume HUD’s role as the responsible entity for its subrecipients.

The responsible entity is responsible for the scope and content of the environmental review. Generally, the following steps are necessary to complete a review:

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  • Develop a detailed project description

  • Determine the appropriate level of review

  • Complete the environmental analysis, including compliance with the related federal laws and authorities

  • Obtain the necessary signatures

  • Publish or post a Notice of Intent to Request a Release of Funds (NOI-RROF)

  • Publish or post a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), if necessary

  • Wait for the applicable comment period to elapse

  • Submit the Request Release of Funds and Certification (RROF/C) (HUD form 7015.15) to HUD

  • HUD will approve the release of funds with an Authority to Use Grant Funds after the HUD 15-day objection period if no valid objections are received

  • Revisit the review to address mitigation measures, reevaluate the project, or add another funding source, if applicable

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The certifying officer of the responsible entity (the chief elected official, usually the mayor) signs the RROF/C and takes legal responsibility for the review. HUD responsibilities under Part 58 are very limited. HUD will receive the RROF/C from the responsible entity, accept public comments during the HUD objection period, and approve the use of HUD assistance through the Authority to Use Grant Funds (HUD form 7015.16). HUD will also periodically conduct in-depth monitoring of responsible entities’ environmental review records.

Normally, CDBG-DR grantees are permitted to charge to grants the pre-award and pre-application costs of homeowners, businesses, and other qualifying entities for eligible costs these applicants have incurred, but this is contingent on meeting the environmental requirements at 24 CFR part 58 and not committing environmental harm.

On June 29, 2016, HUD hosted a webinar describing the environmental review requirements, timing and planning considerations to remain in compliance, and general tips to CDBG-DR grantees. 

Environmental Review and Disaster Recovery Webinar

This webinar can also be viewed here.

In addition, CDBG-DR grantees are encouraged to look at the frequently asked questions posted on the HUD Exchange.

HUD also offers a Web-Based Instructional System for Environmental Review (WISER), a self-paced environmental review tool that teaches grantees how to understand and address all aspects of the environmental review process required for all HUD-assisted projects. WISER includes online learning modules that can be completed in any order. The modules assist grantees in understanding the overall requirements for assessing the environmental impacts of any HUD-assisted project and how to conduct particular components of an environmental review process. This tool can be found on the HUD Exchange.

• Getting Started: Part 58
• Getting Started: Part 50
• Getting Started: Tools and Resources
• Environmental Assessment Factors
• Site Contamination
• Water Elements
• Historic Preservation
• Explosive and Flammable Materials

• Noise Abatement and Control
• Environmental Justice
• Air Quality
• Endangered Species
• Airport Hazards
• Farmlands
• Wild and Scenic Rivers

The Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 (P.L. 133-2)permits grantees to adopt another Federal agency’s environmental review where the HUD assistance supplements the Stafford Act and the other Federal agency performed an environmental review for assistance under section 402, 403, 404, 406, 407, or 502 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. Additionally, section 408(c)(4) was added to the sections under the Stafford Act for 2017 events. The other federal agency’s environmental review must cover all project activities funded by the HUD recipient for each project. The recipient does not need to supplement the other agency’s environmental review to comply with HUD regulations (i.e. publication or posting requirements for a FONSI, NOI-RROF, concurrent or combined notices, HUD objection period). For guidance on how to adopt another Federal agency’s environmental review, view the CPD Memo. While this memo references appropriations in response to Hurricane Sandy, the requirements and process outlined in the memo apply to all CDBG-DR appropriations for supplemental assistance to actions performed under the Stafford Act.

Section 1106 of The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (Div. B of P.L. 113-2, enacted January 29, 2013) directed the Administration to “establish an expedited and unified interagency review process to ensure compliance with environmental and historic requirements under Federal law relating to disaster recovery projects, to expedite the recovery process, consistent with applicable law.” The Unified Federal Review (UFR) process coordinates Federal agency environmental and historic preservation reviews for proposed disaster recovery projects associated with presidentially declared disasters under the Stafford Act.

The purpose of the UFR is to improve Federal decision making to allow for more timely and planned processes that yield better outcomes for communities and the environment when Federal funds and permits are used for disaster recovery projects. Grantees receiving an allocation of CDBG-DR funds are encouraged to participate in this process as one means of expediting recovery. The Responsible Entity, the unit of general local government (UGLG), county, or state within which the Project Site is located that exercises land use responsibility, formally participates in the disaster specific UFR by becoming a signatory for the UFR. Tools for the UFR process can be found on FEMA’s website at https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/UFR_Applicant_Guide_Final.pdf and https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Practitioner_Guidance_101014_Updated_Hyperlinks.pdf.

The Responsible Entity is required to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (54 U.S.C. Section 306108). To assist grantees, HUD has established a database of Disaster Recovery Programmatic Agreements (PAs) for Section 106 reviews that may apply to CDBG-DR projects which can be viewed here. The database includes HUD addendum documents that allow states and local governments to use the streamlining procedures in a state’s FEMA Programmatic Agreement, any state-specific protocols, and guidance issued to support historic preservation and disaster recovery in the disaster-impacted state. Additional Responsible Entities may adopt a HUD Addendum for their jurisdiction in consultation with HUD’s Office of Environment and Energy at any time.

To further facilitate expedited Section 106 reviews, HUD strongly encourages grantees to allocate general administration funds to retain a qualified historic preservation professional and support the capacity of the State Historic Preservation Officer or Tribal Historic Preservation Officer to review CDBG-DR projects. More information on qualified historic preservation professional qualifications standards.

For more information on historic preservation here.

HUD strongly encourages Responsible Entities to develop a tiered approach to streamline the environmental review process for single-family housing programs. A tiered review consists of two stages: a broad-level review (conducted at the municipality or county level) and subsequent site-specific reviews. The broad-level review should identify and evaluate the issues that can be fully addressed and resolved, notwithstanding possible limited knowledge of the project.

In addition, the broad-level review must establish the standards, constraints, and processes to be followed in the subsequent site-specific reviews. An 8-Step Decision Making Process for Floodplains and Wetlands, including early and final public notices, can be completed on a county-wide basis for single-family housing programs funded through CDBG-DR. As individual sites are selected for review, the site-specific reviews evaluate the remaining issues based on the policies established in the broad-level review. Together, the broad-level review and all site-specific reviews will collectively comprise a complete environmental review addressing all required elements. Funds cannot be spent or committed on a specific site or activity until the site-specific review has been completed for the site.

For more information on when it is appropriate to tier an environmental review, please see here.

Federal grants provided for a property in a FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) trigger a statutory requirement to maintain flood insurance on the property in perpetuity. CDBG-DR grantees must monitor for compliance with this requirement in accordance with 24 CFR § 58.6. If an individual receives federal disaster assistance conditioned on obtaining and maintaining flood insurance and fails to do so, the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994 prohibits that person from receiving further federal disaster assistance for repair, replacement, or restoration for damage to that property in the future. In addition, the 1994 Act requires that, should the property be sold or transferred, the seller or transferor is required to notify the buyer or transferee in writing that flood insurance must be obtained and maintained.

HUD strongly recommends that grantees require the purchase of flood insurance outside of the SFHA for properties that have been damaged by a flood. While this is not a requirement, it is a best practice to protect property owners from the economic risks of future floods and reduce dependence on Federal disaster assistance in the future.

For more information on flood insurance requirements and guidance, see the WISER Water Elements module at https://www.hudexchange.info/trainings/wiser/ and the Flood Insurance page on HUD Exchange at https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/environmental-review/flood-insurance/.

The Green and Resilient Building Standard applies to: (i) All new construction and reconstruction (i.e., demolishing a housing unit and rebuilding it on the same lot in substantially the same manner) of residential buildings and (ii) all rehabilitation activities of substantially damaged residential buildings, including changes to structural elements such as flooring systems, columns, or load-bearing interior or exterior walls above. If the construction falls under those two categories and is assisted with CDBG–DR funds, it must meet an industry-recognized standard that has achieved certification under (i) Enterprise Green Communities (ii) LEED (New Construction, Homes, Midrise, Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance, or Neighborhood Development); (iii) ICC–700 National Green Building Standard Green+Resilience (iv) Living Building Challenge or (v) any other equivalent comprehensive green building program acceptable to HUD. Additionally, all such covered construction must achieve a minimum energy efficiency standard, such as (i) ENERGY STAR (Certified Homes or Multifamily High-Rise); (ii) DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (iii) EarthCraft House, EarthCraft Multifamily; (iv) Passive House Institute Passive Building or EnerPHit certification from the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS), International Passive House Association; (v) Greenpoint Rated New Home, Greenpoint Rated Existing Home (Whole House or Whole Building label); (vi) Earth Advantage New Homes; or (vii) any other equivalent energy efficiency standard acceptable to HUD.

To improve long-term community resilience and protect communities from future disasters, the Consolidated Notice requires Green and Resilient Building Standards. In each project file, the grantee will identify which Green Building and Resilient Standard it will use for each project. Grantees are not limited to only using one of the authorized standards.

For construction projects completed, under construction, or under contract before the date that CDBG-DR assistance is approved by the grantee for the project, the grantee is encouraged to apply the applicable standards to the extent feasible, but the Green Building and Resilient Standard is not required. If specific equipment or materials are required, and an ENERGY STAR- or WaterSense-labeled or FEMP-designated product does not exist, grantees are not required to use such products.

Grantees must meet the Green and Resilient Building Standard for all new construction of residential buildings and all replacement of substantially damaged residential buildings. Replacement of residential buildings includes, but is not limited to, reconstruction (i.e., demolishing and rebuilding a housing unit on the same lot in substantially the same manner) and changes to structural elements such as flooring systems, columns, or load bearing interior or exterior walls.

As outlined in the section above and in the notice, grantees must meet the Green and Resilient Building Standard for all new construction of residential buildings and all replacement of substantially damaged residential buildings. Replacement of residential buildings includes, but is not limited to, reconstruction (i.e., demolishing and rebuilding a housing unit on the same lot in substantially the same manner) and changes to structural elements such as flooring systems, columns, or load bearing interior or exterior walls.

As another resource, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s smart growth program has a green building standard break down and a comparison chart of green building standards. The charts may be helpful for a grantee to use when determining which green building standard is most applicable for a project. Grantees also have the option of presenting alternative standards to HUD that would be similar to the other codes listed, including standards like the National Green Building Standard ICC-700 or the FORTIFIED Home program.

For rehabilitation of nonsubstantially damaged residential buildings, grantees must follow the guidelines in the HUD CPD Green Building Retrofit Checklist. The goal of CPD’s Green Building Retrofit Checklist is to promote the use of energy efficiency and green building practices. Some elements of the checklist may not be applicable in all climates and geographies. If this is the case, grantees should contact their HUD grant manager to see if there is an alternative that can be applied.

Grantees must apply these guidelines to the extent applicable for the rehabilitation work undertaken, including the use of mold resistant products when replacing surfaces such as drywall. When older or obsolete products are replaced as part of the rehabilitation work, ENERGY STAR-labeled, WaterSense-labeled, or Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)-designated products and appliances are required. For example, if the furnace, air conditioner, windows, and appliances are replaced, the replacements must be ENERGY STAR-labeled or FEMP-designated products. Rehabilitated housing may also implement measures recommended in a Physical Condition Assessment (PCA) or Green Physical Needs Assessment (GPNA).

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