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Washington, DC - In a joint press conference in Washington, DC with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth E. Mapp announced today that the Territory will receive $1.6 billion in additional Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding to repair and rebuild private and public housing, and for economic revitalization and infrastructure reconstruction and resiliency.
This is part of the HUD grants included in President Donald Trump’s spending bill in early February for almost $90 billion of supplemental disaster funding and covering hurricane relief for Texas, Puerto Rico, Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands as well as the California wildfires. The newly announced disbursement is in addition to $243 million in HUD funding provided to the Territory in February.
“Just seven months ago we were struck by two Category 5 hurricanes within 12 days of each other, causing catastrophic damage throughout our Territory,” said Governor Mapp. “These storms devastated our entire power grid and severely damaged our hospitals, our schools, our roads, as well as thousands of homes and businesses.”
“It’s clear that a number of communities in the U.S. Virgin Islands are still struggling to recover from a variety of storms,” 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 Mapp added, “With the help of President Trump, FEMA, and the efforts of committed federal partners such as HUD Secretary Carson, we have begun our long road to a successful recovery. On behalf of the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands, I offer my deepest gratitude to the Secretary and our federal partners for their support.”
HUD grants are administered through the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority, which submits proposals for various recovery projects to HUD for approval. Some of the anticipated projects will include rebuilding and/or repairing public and senior housing and emergency shelters that were wiped out during the storms (including Queen Louise Home for the Aged in St. Thomas and Herbert Grigg Home for the Aged in St. Croix), upgrading and hardening the power distribution system, the dredging of Charlotte Amalie’s harbor to accommodate Oasis class cruise ships, road reconstruction, and telecommunications and wastewater system improvements.