FEMA Approves Over $2 Billion in Public Assistance Funds for V.I.

Representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency meeting with officials of the Government of the Virgin Islands.

Approved funding for the U.S Virgin Islands has surpassed $2.1 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance program. These grants have been obligated for emergency protective measures and permanent work throughout the territory, including:

$1.3 billion for emergency work projects

$597 million for permanent work

$164 million for administrative costs

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FEMA has recently obligated $233 million for the Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program and $19.7 million for the V.I. Water and Power Authority (WAPA) to manage long-term recovery projects. These approved amounts pushed Public Assistance funding above the $2 billion mark.

The V.I. Housing Finance Authority under the Emergency Home Repairs VI administered the Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power program. Repairs were made to more than 7,000 storm-damaged homes.

Education, hospitals and strengthening the power grid across the Virgin Islands have received support from the public assistance program. The agency has obligated over $110 million for 249 temporary modular units and 10 sprung structures for the territory’s public schools.

FEMA has obligated $68 million for a temporary hospital on the grounds at Gov. Juan F. Luis Medical Center that was damaged during Hurricane Maria in September 2017. FEMA has also obligated $10.5 million for architectural and engineering design work for the hospital.

The agency has also approved $1 billion for WAPA’s long-term plan to produce and restore power through its planned resilient electrical grid. Through this, WAPA plans to install over 8,000 composite power poles across the territory.

FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program will continue to support recovery from the 2017 storms as it incorporates the Bipartisan Budget Act Policy of 2018 (BBA) and PA Alternative Procedures, Section 428 of the Stafford Act, into the territory’s projects.

The Bipartisan Budget Act Policy authorizes FEMA to “provide assistance to restore disaster-damaged facilities or systems that provide critical services to an industry standard without regard to pre-disaster condition.”

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