Ferguson, Missouri was not selected as a recipient for U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding. The town – which became a national symbol for racial and economic inequality in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown – factored in as one of the 40 finalists for the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC). The grants offered by the program are designed to fund initiatives to make communities more resilient to the effects of climate change.
Missouri officials sought $38.3 million to “improve the economic resilience of citizens in North St. Louis County, so they are able to build assets and withstand the shocks and stressors that will inevitably come.” The funding represented an opportunity to implement infrastructure improvements in the economically depressed area.
The 12 grant recipients include: the state of California ($70.4 million), the state of Connecticut ($54.3 million), New Orleans ($141.3 million), the state of Iowa ($96.9 million), Minot, North Dakota ($74.3 million), the state of Louisiana ($92.6 million), Shelby County, Tennessee ($60.4 million), the state of New Jersey ($15 million), Springfield, Massachusetts ($17.1 million), the state of New York ($35.8 million), the state of Tennessee ($44.5 million), and the state of Virginia ($120.6 million).
The cash-strapped city recently made news as the Department of Justice and the Ferguson Police Department reached a deal on a number of reforms aimed to bolster community trust in the police, improve accountability, and promote diversity in the department’s corps of officers. Up until now, the city had only a few African-American police officers on its more than 50-strong police force. Ferguson’s population is 70 percent black. The deal will require officers to don body cameras and microphones within 180 days, and will mandate that the police force focus on more accurately reflecting the town’s racial makeup in its ranks.