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Mapp Says $250 Million In Federal Funds Will Be Used To Fix Public Housing After Hurricanes

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CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Virgin Islands will receive $242.7 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist in its recovery efforts.

The HUD Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Program award was announced by HUD’s Deputy Secretary Pamela Hughes Patenaude, who joined Gov. Kenneth Mapp at a news conference on Friday.

“I hope this will help to address the seriousness of the housing needs, as we discussed, and the (USVI’s) economic development needs,” Patenaude told Mapp. “I believe under your leadership that we are going to see an amazing renaissance.”

Mapp expressed gratitude on behalf of the people of the Virgin Islands.

“Thank you, the Trump Administration, and all of our federal partners for their support,” the governor said. “These dollars will hasten the delivery of homes and communities for displaced individuals.”

After a meeting to discuss updates to the territory’s recovery efforts and projected redevelopment plans, Mapp, Virgin Islands Housing Authority Executive Director Robert Graham and Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority Acting Executive Director and CFO Daryl Griffith accompanied Deputy Secretary Patenaude and a delegation from HUD to tour some of St. Thomas’ housing communities, including the devastated homes at the Tutu Hi Rise site.

They viewed damaged units and heard plans for demolition, rebuilding and the relocation of families. Governor Mapp said the Tutu community was slated for demolition in a matter of months. The delegation also briefly visited the Sugar Estate Senior Center and Whispering Hills Homes.

“Just days after the storms, (and) particularly with the issues we were facing in Tutu, United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson made a substantial amount of monetary resources available for the relocation of these residents,” Mapp said. “We are immensely grateful that HUD is helping to support the long-term recovery underway in the USVI and look forward to working closely with them as we rebuild smarter and stronger.”

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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