US Housing grants $1.5 billion to help Puerto Rico recover from hurricanes
SAN JUAN – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said Thursday that it awarded more than $1.5 billion to help Puerto Rico to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. HUD Deputy Secretary Pamela Hughes Patenaude announced the disaster recovery grants with Gov. Ricardo Rosselló during her third visit to the island since Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
The funds are provided through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program aimed at helping repair seriously damaged housing and local businesses.
“President Trump and the entire HUD family stand with our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico to help them recover from these devastating hurricanes,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in Thursday’s press release. “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.”
“This grant will make a huge difference in repairing damaged homes and businesses and facilitating the social and economic recovery here in the island,” Rosselló added.
According to HUD, it relied upon 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.”
The department said its 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.
CDBG-DR grantees are required to spend the majority of these recovery funds in “most impacted” areas as identified by HUD, which said it will issue administrative guidelines shortly for use of the funds.