The CNMI is eligible to receive more federal disaster funds, including from the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Department of Education.
EDA officials are now in contact with their counterparts in the CNMI, since Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu struck the Commonwealth in September and October last year. EDA has identified 40 potential projects that they can help fund in the CNMI.
EDA helps in the timely delivery of federal assistance to support communities in their long-term recovery after being hit by major disasters.
The CNMI can get a share of the $600 million in disaster relief funds from EDA, which was enacted from Public Law 116-20. EDA representatives are set to arrive this week to assist the CNMI with its plans and applications for the funds.
“It can be used for expenses related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, and infrastructure restoration. Grant awards and the speed with which the Marianas receives funding will depend on the quality of the grant applications and how quickly the Commonwealth submits them,” said Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP).
Sablan added the U.S. Department of Education also has an additional $4 million that will go to schools that are recovering from disasters.
The amended H.R. 2740—or the Fiscal Year 2020 Labor-Health-Education Appropriations Act, where Sablan is one of the co-sponsors—passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week.
“The funds go to the Office of the Inspector General, the independent watchdog that conducts oversight, audits, and investigations of department spending,” Sablan said.
In other news, Sablan said individuals under the categorical or humanitarian parole status that were denied federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance can appeal their cases. “We alerted the U.S. Department of Labor to the denials.”
“As a result, the Commonwealth Department of Labor is now accepting written appeals from individuals who may have been erroneously denied DUA. Qualified nonresidents must have lived in the Marianas for at least one year,” he said.
The U.S. Labor Department office in Hawaii will resolve all appeals. For more information, call Sablan’s office on Saipan at 323-2647 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.