Disaster recovery funds to help repair damaged homes, businesses and infrastructure
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded $1.6 billion to support long-term disaster recovery in the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. These funds are provided through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program and are intended to rebuild seriously damaged housing, businesses and critical infrastructure.
“It’s clear that a number of states and local communities are still struggling to recover from a variety of natural disasters that occurred in the past three years,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “These grants will help rebuild communities impacted by past disasters and will also protect them from major disasters in the future.”
Governor Kenneth Mapp said, “Just seven months ago we were struck by two Category 5 hurricanes within 12 days of each other causing catastrophic damage throughout our Territory. These storms devastated our entire power grid and severely damaged our hospitals, our schools, our roads as well as thousands of homes and businesses. Yet with the help of FEMA, President Trump, and the efforts of committed Federal partners such as Secretary Carson and Deputy Secretary Patenaude, we have begun our long road to a successful recovery. This additional $1.6 billion CDBG-DR grant that HUD has committed to the US Virgin Islands allows us to continue to rebuild our infrastructure and gives us the flexibility to create a more resilient power distribution system that is less likely to succumb to future storms. On behalf of the people of the US Virgin Islands, I offer my deepest gratitude to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary for their support.”
CDBG-DR grants support a variety of disaster recovery activities including housing redevelopment and rebuilding, business assistance, economic revitalization, and infrastructure repair. Grantees are required to spend the majority of these recovery funds in “most impacted” areas as identified by HUD. HUD will issue guidelines shortly and will provide substantial technical support to for use of the funds to address grantees’ long-term recovery needs, particularly in the area of housing recovery.
U.S. Virgin Islands planning officials, along with U.S. Virgin Islands citizens, will now develop a disaster recovery plan to identify how these funds will be spent. CDBG-DR funds are designed to meet local needs with critical recovery decisions being made by local citizens.