The Financial Oversight and Management Board announced today that it certified the Action Plan by the Puerto Rico Department of Housing (PRDOH) detailing the use of funds from the U.S. Department of Housing’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-DR).
PRDOH is the agency responsible for administering about $20 billion in CDBG-DR funding Puerto Rico would be receiving from HUD, which was part of the federal government's response after Hurricane Maria slammed the island in Sept. 2017.
In February 2018, HUD allocated the first grant of $1.5 billion. In January 2020, HUD announced the grant agreement for the second tranche of $8.2 billion, which requires PRDOH to submit an updated Action Plan for the Oversight Board to review and certify that the programs are consistent with the Certified Fiscal Plan and Certified Budget.
The second tranche of funds has been delayed by the federal government, which has expressed concerns about transparency and corruption cases on the island.
In addition to these funds, HUD allocated to Puerto Rico $8.3 billion related to disaster resilience and $1.9 billion related to the energy grid.
The Oversight Board also certified the budget for the next $1.7 billion block of funding, as required by HUD prior to providing PRDOH access to the funds and to continue implementing the Action Plan.
“Federal funding is a crucial element of Puerto Rico’s recovery from the series of natural disasters the people of Puerto Rico have suffered,” said the Oversight Board’s Executive Director Natalie Jaresko. “Critically important is that these federal funds, like all funds, have the greatest possible impact on Puerto Rico’s economy and its residents."