Washington DC – On behalf of the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition’s (DHRC) 850 local, state, and national organizational members, we applaud the House of Representatives for approving earthquake relief for Puerto Rico and urge President Trump to sign the recovery package as soon as possible. The disaster relief bill provides critical resources to help address the island’s housing, infrastructure, mitigation, education, and nutrition assistance needs as it works to recover not only from the most recent earthquakes, but also Hurricane Maria.
Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane Maria has been hamstrung by the Trump administration, which continues to withhold $16 billion in mitigation and disaster recovery resources approved by Congress more than two years ago. While the administration now claims that it will release the funds, it has proposed steep restrictions that could promote the interests of investors over Puerto Ricans, undermine living wage standards, lead to further displacement, and set up pretenses for additional delays by HUD. To our knowledge, such steep restrictions have never been placed on any other state or territory. For these reasons, NLIHC and members of the Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition Puerto Rico Working Group sent a letter, urging congressional leaders to hold HUD accountable for its continued discrimination against U.S. citizens and to lift these unprecedented restrictions.
President Trump’s threat to veto the earthquake relief bill for Puerto Rico is just the latest attempt by the administration to put American lives at risk. We thank Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Lowry for their leadership in advancing critical disaster recovery resources. We look forward to working with them to ensure that Puerto Rico has the funding it needs – free from unnecessary and harmful restrictions – to fully recover from these disasters.
About the DHRC: A coalition of more than 850 national, state, and local organizations, including many working directly with disaster-impacted communities and with first-hand experience recovering after disasters.