The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded $242.7 million to help the U.S. Virgin Islands to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. HUD’s Deputy Secretary Pamela Hughes Patenaude announced the disaster recovery grants with Governor Kenneth E. Mapp during a tour of damaged homes in St. Thomas.
These recovery funds awarded today are provided through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program and will support long-term recovery, including infrastructure, seriously damaged housing, and economic recovery in the Territory.
“President Trump and the entire HUD family stand with the people of the Virgin Islands to help them recover from these devastating hurricanes,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “These recovery funds will help with broad based economic recovery including damaged homes. As local leaders, along with their citizens, develop their recovery plans, HUD will reduce regulatory barriers and remove any unnecessary roadblocks to speed long-term recovery.”
“We are immensely grateful that HUD is helping to support the long-term recovery underway in the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Governor Mapp. “We are developing a thoughtful plan to restore our housing stock and support our local business community – together we will rebuild smarter and stronger. I would also like to thank HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude for her personal visit and sincere interest in the Territory’s recovery effort.”
On September 8, 2017, President Trump signed Public Law 115-56 which appropriated $7.4 billion in CDBG-DR funding for major disasters declared in calendar year 2017. To distribute these funds, HUD is required by law to direct the funds to the areas most impacted by qualifying disastersHUD will continue to work with the government of the US Virgin Islands to address its remaining unmet needs.
In making today’s allocation to the U.S. Virgin Islands, HUD relied upon a wide variety of disaster-related information, including data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA), to determine the extent of unmet housing and small business needs in the areas most impacted by the disasters. HUD’s analysis found thousands of middle – and lower-income homeowners and renters experienced serious damage to their residences and who were not adequately insured (or uninsured) for their losses. Similarly, businesses suffered serious damage that is not adequately covered by insurance or other resources. The grant announced today is designed to help meet needs not being met by private insurance or other sources of federal assistance.
CDBG-DR grants support a variety of disaster recovery activities including housing redevelopment and rebuilding, business assistance, economic revitalization, and infrastructure. Grantees are required to spend the majority of these recovery funds in “most impacted” areas as identified by HUD. HUD will issue administrative guidelines shortly for use of the funds to address grantees’ long-term recovery needs, particularly in the area of housing recovery.