CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Making good on a promise she made during a virtual meeting last month with Governor Albert Bryan, Deputy Secretary of HUD Adrianne Todman visited the territory in her official capacity to tour some disaster recovery projects on St. Thomas.
During their hourlong meeting on Friday, Governor Bryan and the deputy secretary discussed a wide range of topics related to housing and disaster recovery issues in the Territory, including rebuilding the territory’s workforce following the COVID-19 pandemic; the re-emergence of Tourism and the return of cruise ships; the progress of rebuilding the schools; the need for more housing and related opportunities; issues regarding adequate building supplies and materials; and the USVI’s movement toward renewable energy sources.
Deputy Secretary Todman, who is a native of St. Thomas, also gave the governor an update on the federal reconciliation bill and Build Back Better Initiative making their way through Congressional negotiations. She said that while the amount remains unclear at this point, the prospects for additional funding requested by HUD are very positive, which would result in more federal funding for housing in the territory.
She and the governor also discussed the impact the Biden administration’s Infrastructure Bill might have on broadband accessibility, roads, homeownership and public housing preservation.
Governor Bryan also expressed his concerns about sustainable economic development and issues encountered as the Territory, and the country, deals with the continuing impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as his efforts to revitalize the territory’s towns.
Deputy Secretary Todman said that because of her close ties to the USVI, which she visits frequently on a personal level, that the Bryan-Roach Administration will have beneficial opportunities for real engagement and representation in Washington, D.C. She also said she would be available within the scope of her role with HUD to assist the USVI in its dealings with other federal agencies.
Following her meeting with Governor Bryan, Deputy Secretary Todman was joined by Virgin Islands Housing Finance (VIHFA) Director Daryl Griffith and VIHFA Chief Disaster Recovery Officer Dayna Clendinen for site visits of the Magens Junction and Donoe affordable housing projects, as well as some private homes that were rebuilt as part of VIHFA’s EnVIsion Program.