U.S. communities affected by natural disasters in recent years will be able to vie for nearly $1 billion in funds to rebuild and improve the resiliency of their infrastructure against future disasters under a new national competition unveiled June 15.

President Barack Obama announced the National Disaster Resilience Competition at a commencement speech at the University of California at Irvine.  “In some parts of the country, weather-related disasters like droughts and fires and storms and floods are going to get harsher and they are going to get costlier,” Obama said. The new competitive fund will “help communities prepare for the impacts of climate change and build more resilient infrastructure across the country.”

The national competition will draw from remaining funds available through the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) community development block grant-disaster recovery program. Those funds were established under the Sandy supplemental spending bill in 2013.

The 2013 spending bill allocated approximately $16 billion for disaster-related community block grants, and most of those funds have already been allocated to the New York-New Jersey region most affected by Superstorm Sandy.

Under the new competition, about $820 million will be available to all states and local governments that experienced a Presidentially declared natural disaster between 2011 and 2013. States in the Sandy-affected region will be able to compete for approximately $180 million to address critical housing needs, according to the White House.

The competition is modeled after HUD’s Rebuild by Design competition, which announced on June 2 that it would award approximately $920 million to six recovery projects in New York, New Jersey and New York City.