The Trump administration is planning to place additional restrictions on badly needed disaster recovery mitigation funds for Puerto Rico. The details of the restrictions are unknown, and it is unclear when the island will receive the $8.3 billion in disaster mitigation funding signed into law more than 18 months ago. Because the Trump administration had withheld the congressionally approved disaster recovery funding for Puerto Rico, Congress recently enacted legislation directing HUD to release the mitigation funds by September 6.
The move to implement additional restrictions comes on the heels of the resignation of Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, spurred in large part by allegations of his administration’s corruption and misuse of recovery funds. Some policymakers are now calling for increased federal control over how disaster recovery dollars are spent on the island. Puerto Ricans have called such a move anti-democratic and colonial.
The NLIHC-led Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) of more than 800 organizations issued a statement on behalf of its Puerto Rico Working Group calling for greater democratization of the recovery process. NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel said in the statement: “Exclusive federal control over Puerto Rican finances and disaster recovery funding is the wrong approach and would only exacerbate the inadequate recovery strategy that has left thousands of Puerto Ricans still living in damaged homes almost two years after Hurricanes Maria and Irma.”
Read the DHRC press statement at: https://bit.ly/2MjyAoN