Shelby County advances in disaster funds competition

Office of Sustainability Logo small140_0Damages and flooding from three April 2011 storms were severe enough to keep Shelby County eligible for federal funding.

The county made the cut for Phase 2 of the National Disaster Resili-ence Competition (NDRC), held by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help hard-hit areas.

Forty states and local communities are vying for their share of $1 billion in the NDRC’s second and final phase. Grant awards are available from $1 million up to $500 million.

HUD’s competition is designed to help states and local communities recover from past disasters while improving their ability to withstand future extreme events.

Local impact

For Shelby County, the NDRC could help address unmet needs from the 2011 storms and flooding and long-term resilience efforts, including implementing the Mid-South Regional Greenprint.

A series of three severe storm systems in April 2011 caused significant damage in Shelby County. Due to the severity of the damages and flooding, HUD identified Shelby County as Tennessee’s most affected area.

These three events resulted in Presidential Disaster Declarations and serve as the basis for the county’s eligibility to participate in the NDRC.

A press release from Shelby County mayor Mark H. Luttrell Jr. noted that the storms’ impact across Shelby County emphasizes the need for a comprehensive long-term recovery process.

The county is in the process of assessing remaining recovery needs in housing, infrastructure, economic revitalization, and the natural environment and analyzing the risks and vulnerabilities that face Shelby County as well as how they will change over time.

Luttrell said, “Building a more resilient Shelby County is critical as we seek to address safety for our citizens and create a more livable community. Future disasters will come. This grant provides the county and region with the opportunity to prepare better for managing the shocks and stresses of those events.”

In March 2015, Shelby County submitted a Phase I application to HUD as one of 67 eligible jurisdictions.

The application highlighted areas of unmet need from the April 2011 storms, analyzed the county’s risks and vulnerabilities in the event of future disaster, and set a framework for resilience, building off of the Mid-South Regional Greenprint plan, now adopted in eight regional jurisdictions.

Through October 2015, Shelby County will evaluate areas of greatest need for long-term resilience, hold community discussions, and meet with regional stakeholders to develop projects for targeted areas.

For information about the county’s application, contact John Zeanah, administrator at the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Sustain-ability, at or (901) 576-7167.

Read more about the National Disaster Resilience Competition at