U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary, Ben Carson, is approving a disaster recovery plan to help citizens in the U.S. Virgin Islands to recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
In November, HUD allocated $243 million to the U.S. Virgin Islands to support long-term recovery efforts.
The U.S. Virgin Islands’ action plan approved yesterday is funded through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program which requires grantees to develop a thoughtful recovery program informed by local residents.
“Planning is critical to recovery. Today, we begin the process of putting this plan to work,” said Secretary Carson. “HUD will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our partners on the ground to help the citizens of the U.S. Virgin Islands to recover and rebuild their homes and their lives.”
U.S. Virgin Islands Governor, Ken Mapp, said: “This is a great day for the U.S. Virgin Islands. HUD’s approval of our action plan marks a major milestone in our recovery. The approvals we received today will enable us to move forward quickly on major recovery activities across the Territory including the dredging of our harbors.”
Economic Revitalization ($33 million)
Through this program, the U.S. Virgin Islands seeks to revitalize the post-disaster economy including:
- $23 million for Ports and Airports Enhancements and harbor dredging to allow for larger cruise ships;
- Workforce Development Program to train low- and moderate-income residents to fill the construction and other jobs coming from recovery investments ($5 million);
- Tourism Industry Support Program ($5 million), which will require a waiver by HUD, for marketing to communicate that the USVI is open for business.