22 Apr HUD: Accelerated Access to Puerto Rico Disaster Relief Funds
April 19, 2021
Department removes onerous restrictions that limited island’s access to funds, obligates $8.2 billion in federal mitigation funding
WASHINGTON – The Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced the obligation of $8.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) funds for Puerto Rico, along with the removal of onerous restrictions unique to Puerto Rico that limited the island’s access to CDBG-DR recovery funds that were allocated following Hurricane Maria in September 2017. These actions are the latest in an ongoing whole-of-government effort to support the island’s recovery and renewal.
“Since its first days, the Biden-Harris Administration has prioritized action to enable stronger recovery for Puerto Rico,” said HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “The actions taken by HUD today will unlock access to funds Puerto Rico needs to recover from past disasters and build resilience to future storms, while ensuring transparency and accountability. We are committed to an ongoing partnership with Puerto Rico to empower the island’s communities and help them build back better.”
Among the onerous restrictions removed by HUD are the incremental grant obligations (or tranche structure) and review by the Federal Financial Monitor. HUD also removed the requirement for Puerto Rico to request and submit any certification, observations, and recommendations by the Financial Oversight and Management Board, beyond what is already required by law.
Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds enable grantees to address significant unmet needs for long-term recovery, including disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure, housing, and economic revitalization. CDBG Mitigation (CDBG-MIT) Program funds can be used in areas impacted by recent disasters to carry out strategic and high-impact activities to mitigate disaster risk and reduce future losses.