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Dubuque competing for disaster resiliency funds

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The City of Dubuque is competing for a share of a $1 billion pie that would help them rebuild after the floods of 2011 and increase their resilience to future disasters.

Dubuque is part of the Iowa application, one of 40 states and communities invited to apply for the second and final phase of the competition. Of the nearly $1 billion available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR), about $820 million will be available to all states and local governments that experienced a Presidentially-declared major disaster in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

In Dubuque, the city is looking to get funds through the National Disaster Resilience Competition to assist residents in the Bee Branch Watershed with repairs to households that are still damaged from the 2011 storms that flooded parts of Dubuque. Examples include deteriorated foundations, siding, window wells, flooring, yards, and damage to appliances such as water heaters and furnaces. The goal is to create more flood-resilient housing in Dubuque through repairs and on-site stormwater improvements (such as waterproofing basements/foundations and tiling). These repairs and improvements will create healthier, more resilient homes and minimize the impact of increasingly frequent and severe rain events.

Dubuque's funding priorities for this grant opportunity are assisting Bee Branch Watershed homeowners repair and flood-proof their homes, promoting economic development in the watershed through a microloan program, and the construction of a culvert under the rail road as part of the Upper Bee Branch Creek restoration. City staff will use public and state partner input to finalize the application. The cost of the proposed activities is expected to be in the range $50 million. The total amount requested in the Iowa NDRC grant application will be approximately $100 million.

In order to collect accurate information about remaining individual and community needs, the City is required to collect information and inspect properties that suffered damage due to the 2011 storms. Providing this information and opting to have an inspection is completely voluntary but, to be eligible for the competition, the City is required to inspect a sampling of impacted properties. Households that experienced damage as a result of the 2011 flash flood are asked to contact the City of Dubuque Housing and Community Development Department at -563-589-4212 to schedule an inspection. These inspections must be scheduled by Sept. 16, 2015. Residents can also share how the 2011 flood directly impacted them and their neighborhood by completing an online survey at: www.cityofdubuque.org/floodsurvey. Repairs will only be paid for and made to eligible households if the City of Dubuque is awarded the grant. For additional information, please call 563-589-4212.

Applications for the funding must be submitted to HUD in late October and HUD will announce grant recipients in early 2016. The maximum grant award will be $500 million and the minimum will be $1 million. HUD expects that the final awards will not only help better protect residents from future threats in those affected areas, but will help to lead the way for all American communities to make better and more thoughtful investments in resilience.

A public hearing on the application will be held as part of the Community Development Advisory Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Weds., Sept. 16, in the City Council Chambers, Historic Federal Building, 350 W. Sixth Street.

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