Welcome to the CDBG-DR Program

Table of Contents

CDBG-DR grantees are under significant pressure to get recovery funds into the community. A successful response must ramp up quickly while establishing a solid foundation that will support the effort over the longer term. You will need to scale up your operations to manage the influx of funds and stand up programs to rebuild a resilient community. Take the following actions immediately to launch your program.

For more on key steps to standing up your CDBG-DR Program, download Key Things to Do When You Receive CDBG-DR Funds.

Needs Assessment

Conduct your unmet needs analysis

As part of the CDBG-DR Action Plan, grantees must provide an analysis of the disaster impact and the resulting needs that have not been addressed through other sources such as FEMA and SBA funding or insurance proceeds. This unmet need is codified in the Unmet Needs Analysis component of your Action Plan.

The Disaster Impact and Unmet Needs Assessment Kit guides CDBG-DR grantees through a process for identifying and prioritizing critical unmet needs for long-term community recovery and provides a series of tools, in the appendices, to aid that analysis. It provides guidance on how to:

  • Assess the post-disaster situation. Collect data from a number of sources including data on the area prior to the disaster, assistance provided to date, and current market conditions. Analyze that data in light of ongoing recovery activities.
  • Estimate unmet needs. These needs go beyond damage estimates to cover broad impacts of the disaster.
  • Determine local capacity. Assess local agencies’ capacity, including staff levels, skills, and capabilities, to carry out long-term recovery activities and identify gaps.
  • Prioritize needs. Develop dynamic capacities to respond to the evolving disaster recovery situation and changing needs.


Adjust your operational structure to meet your program needs

CDBG-DR Programs are usually larger and more complex than typical housing and community development programs, requiring distinct operational functions to accomplish the diverse activities necessary for effective program management.

HUD has identified operational functions that grantees must implement to carry out a successful CDBG-DR Program. Each function requires operating procedures, staff, and systems to meet its mission. The summaries provided in the Toolbox highlight key actions needed to set up each function and carry it out in an effective and compliant manner.

Some of these functions may be familiar and will require only minor changes or simple expansion to carry them out in your post-disaster environment. Other functions may be entirely new and require significant expansion of your capabilities. Your existing business processes may not be sufficient for the scale of your disaster response effort and you may require new systems, procedures, and staff capabilities. Similarly your staff and subrecipients may not be familiar with critical Federal requirements such as cost reasonableness and duplication of benefits and procurement that, when overlooked, can lead to audit findings. In short, you need to review all ten functions in light of existing capacity and systems to determine your structure and organization.

These functions provide an organizing framework to help you comply with CDBG-DR rules and regulations; however, each grantee will assess how best to implement these functions in their own environment. The size of your grant, existing capabilities, and strategic program goals will influence how you structure your organization. You may combine some functions under one team or separate the roles and responsibilities of other functions into various teams. You may perform some functions with existing staff and partners or contract with other entities to fulfill others. The capacity module provides some tools to help you explore and make these decisions.


Build the team, processes, and systems you need to implement your programs

Successful program implementation will likely require increasing the size of your staff and cultivating new partnerships with other agencies, subrecipients, and contractors. This section provides tools to assess your capacity and make decisions about how best to build a team that has the skills and resources necessary to implement the operational functions described in the previous section. Here are the key steps to building your CDBG-DR team:

  • Step 1. Assess your capacity. Determine your capacity gaps and the various responsibilities that you need to fulfill in order to execute your program. This includes assessments of:
    • Staff capacity. Use the Staffing Analysis Worksheet to document your needs and determine where your current staffing levels may fall short.
    • Infrastructure and real estate needs. Determine your needs for new equipment and space to accommodate additional staff and program functions.
    • Systems and processes. Evaluate current systems and processes to determine what may need to be augmented and improved and consider what assistance you may need to make these changes. 
  • Step 2. Identify staffing positions, partners, and vendors. Once you have identified the gaps, identify staffing positions and partners you will need to augment your capacity and fulfil key functions. These may include other government agencies, nonprofits, and contractors. Consider this summary of potential partners.
  • Step 3. Determine your approach to meeting capacity needs. Having assessed your capacity and the entities that are available to assist with program implementation, you can make choices about the best way to build your team. As a grantee you have several options for staffing and administering your program:
    • Agency staff. Implement the program with your own staff. Hire new staff to address the increase in program size.
    • Partnerships. Delegate distinct responsibilities or programs to other state agencies and nonprofits.
    • Contractors. Hire contractors to perform specific functions. Follow procurement rules and execute appropriate contracts.
    • Local governments. State grantees can provide funding to local governments to run programs with local governments acting as subrecipients.
    • Hybrid model. Grantees may use a combination of the models above.
    See the Organizational Model & Potential Partners Summary for a description of these various approaches and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Step 4. Execute agreements with partners. After choosing your staffing approach you will need to execute agreements with partners. See the sample subrecipient agreement that can be adapted for your program.

Download All Tools

Download a zip file with all tools from this Program Launch Guide.

Photo Credits: Homepage/Launch - Marvin Nauman/FEMA; Introduction - Rossyveth Rey-Berríos/FEMA; Needs Assessment - Jason Lindesmith/FEMA; Capacity - Wendy Kaveney Photography/Shutterstock; Download All Tools - Ed Edahl/FEMA