The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the allocation of more than $2.3 billion to support long-term disaster recovery process in 15 states, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Island, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the North Mariana Islands.
Funds are supported through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant and will address damaged housing, businesses, and infrastructure from disasters that have occured since 2017.
The program requires grantees to develop recovery plans informed by local residents.
“Today, we take another important step to ensure those hardest-hit by recent disasters can fully recover,” said HUD Secretary Benjamin Carson. “The grants awarded today will help these local communities continue the recovery process of rebuilding their homes, restoring their businesses and repairing their critical infrastructure.”
California received the most funds from this announcement, bringing in $525 million for disasters that occured in 2018. The state has received a total of more than $1 billion over the past two years.
Puerto Rico will reportedly receive $277 million, on top of the $19.9 billion it received for disasters linked to 2017. The island has been granted more than $20 billion stemming from disasters in 2017.
HUD announced earlier this year it granted the island $8.2 billion as it continued to recover from 2017’s Hurricane Maria.
“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,” Carson said of the allocation of funds. “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.”
HUD said that its approval of Puerto Rico's action plan makes the island nation eligible for Congressionally appropriated disaster relief funds which will be awarded through HUD's grant programs.
Texas received more than $212 million to recover from disasters in 2019. Other states to receive funds for disasters in 2019 were Arkansas ($8.9 million); Iowa ($96 million); Missouri ($30 million); Nebraska ($108 million); Ohio ($12 million); and Oklahoma ($36 million).