To address the extensive devastation caused by the storms, the Territory has proposed a portfolio of programs to boost broad-based recovery on multiple fronts. The need for urgent action is a major driver of the first allocation of funds. Below is a summary of the three categories of programs funded under CDBG-DR for the next six years. Across all categories, low- and moderate-income residents and businesses are the priority beneficiaries.
Housing for displaced Virgin Islanders remains the highest priority, especially low- and moderate-income families. The total impact on housing is estimated to have 86% of households that suffered “major” or “severe” damage occupied by low- and moderate-income households. The housing programs designed by the Territory will support rehabilitation and reconstruction of affordable housing, public housing, and supportive housing for vulnerable populations.
Both storms had a widespread and lasting impact on the Territory’s infrastructure. Total needs for infrastructure include estimated costs of emergency recovery measures, permanent repair and reconstruction work, and resilience and mitigation efforts. The infrastructure programs designed by the Territory will support housing by repairing critical services like water, power, and roads with a focus on increasing the resilience of these services for future storms.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria not only damaged thousands of housing units and large portions of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ infrastructure network but the two storms also brought the economy to a halt and caused major fiscal, business, and wage losses. These losses further set back the ability of small business owners and workers to rebuild businesses and homes. The economic revitalization programs designed by the Territory will help stem economic losses, invest in growth, increased workforce capacities, and business and investment opportunities.