NMI gets over $240M for disaster recovery

HUD allocates over $2.3B to 15 states, 4 territories
Posted on Dec 05 2019


From left to right, Northern Marianas Housing Corp. director Jesse Palacios, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, NMHC project manager John Gonzales, and Torres’s chief of staff, Angel A. Demapan. (OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR)

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development announced yesterday morning the allocation of over $2.3 billion in support of long-term disaster recovery processes in “hard-hit” areas within 15 states and four of five U.S. territories since 2017 through 2019.

This includes the CNMI, which was ravaged by Super Typhoon Yutu in October 2018. It will be getting over $243 million.

HUD allocated a total of $2,359,119,000 for California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Alaska, Hawaii, North Carolina, South Carolina, Teas, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the CNMI from disasters between 2017 and 2019 through the agency’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program, or CDBG-DR.

“[The program]…will address seriously damaged housing, businesses and infrastructure from disasters that occurred since 2017,” the HUD announcement said.

The CNMI was allocated $243 million in disaster recovery money—one of the larger allocations compared to other states and territories.

“Getting federal recovery funding, above and beyond what the Marianas has gotten in the past, was our No. 1 priority in the days after Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu,” said Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) in a statement from his office.

“We worked very hard right through June, when Public Law 116-20 was finally signed into law, to make sure the Marianas got the help we need,” he added.

P.L. 116-20 is also known as the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act, 2019. The legislation provides a total of $17.2 billion in fiscal year 2019 supplemental appropriations to several federal departments and agencies for expenses related to the consequences of wildfires, hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes, typhoons, and other natural disasters. In total, P.L. 116-20 set aside $130 million for the Marianas, according to Sablan’s statement.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres welcomed the news in a separate statement and expressed his gratitude to HUD and HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

“I also want to commend our hardworking staff at the Northern Marianas Housing Corp. and our departments and agencies for working collaboratively on our action plan, which will help fund work on our damaged homes on Saipan and Tinian, as well as infrastructure throughout our businesses, schools, and community areas around the Commonwealth,” Torres said.

Torres noted that the CDBG-DR money was a year’s worth of work because of the stringent requirements needed for the program, such as “thoughtful” recovery plans, among others.

NMHC compiled the requirements for the CDBG-DR grant with help from the Governor’s Office and the business and community input from residents, he added.

“We thank our residents for their continued patience with our recovery process. The CDBG-DR program is one of the many reasons why we are developing our local capacity to meet the demands and requirements for managing our community recovery projects. This funding will help rebuild our Marianas stronger for the future,” he said.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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