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HUD approves $8.22 billion for Puerto Rico disaster recovery plan

By on March 1, 2019

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló and HUD Secretary Ben Carson (CB file)

SAN JUAN – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced its approval of Puerto Rico’s latest disaster recovery action plan to help the island continue to rebuild from hurricanes Maria and Irma. HUD’s approval of the action plan makes Puerto Rico eligible for congressionally appropriated disaster relief funds, which will be awarded through HUD grant programs.

The department approved $8.22 billion for housing, economic development, infrastructure, revitalization of the communities and planning.

“This is another example of the titanic work that our government has done, specifically the Department of Housing, complying with the requirements imposed by the federal government. Another firm step in the reconstruction and transformation of Puerto Rico,” Fov. Ricardo Rosselló said in a statement.

However, HUD’s release stressed the President Trump administration’s “serious concerns over Puerto Rico’s past fiscal irregularities,” and that to ensure disaster relief funds will be spent “in a manner that helps the citizens of Puerto Rico, HUD will impose strict conditions and financial controls on the use of the funds. This heightened scrutiny will include enhanced monitoring of expenditures and other measures designed to ensure Puerto Rico’s legal and prudent use” of the funds.

The allocation includes $1.9 billion for the multisectoral development and revitalization of communities, $1.38 billion for economic development, $1.3 billion for infrastructure and $2.85 billion for housing.

“This is an unprecedented investment and since Puerto Rico has a history of fiscal malfeasance, we are putting additional financial controls in place to ensure this disaster recovery money is spent properly,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said. “With stringent HUD oversight, these dollars should have a real, lasting impact on Puerto Rico and help our fellow citizens who are struggling to recover from these devastating storms.”

 

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