Home News Local news FEMA Approves Permanent Housing Construction for U.S. Virgin Islands

FEMA Approves Permanent Housing Construction for U.S. Virgin Islands

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Many St. Thomas and St. John buildings are missing roofs. (Kelsey Nowakowski photo)
Many St. Thomas and St. John buildings are missing roofs. (Kelsey Nowakowski photo)
Debris in Estate Castle Burke on St. Croix on Sept. 21 (V.I. National Guard photo)
Debris in Estate Castle Burke on St. Croix on Sept. 21 (V.I. National Guard photo)

Since hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the U.S. Virgin Islands in September, more than $11.2 million in federal and territorial recovery grants has been disbursed to eligible homeowners and renters for temporary housing assistance and other needs, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

With more than half of the estimated number of housing inspections now complete across the territory, FEMA, with help from the V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency and the governor’s office, has approved permanent housing construction for eligible survivors who have sustained at least $17,000 in FEMA verified loss but whose home was not destroyed by the hurricanes, according to a news release from the agency.

FEMA will provide survivors who participate with assistance in the form of direct repairs to their pre-disaster primary residence in lieu of financial assistance. FEMA will contact these survivors via phone calls, texts and emails with details.

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Before an applicant is approved, FEMA will ensure that repairs are necessary to make the home, safe, sanitary and functional. The estimated labor and repairs to the home must not exceed $75,000. Repair costs must be reasonable and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

FEMA also is making repair grants available to those homeowners with moderate damages, as these survivors may choose to quickly make repairs and move forward with their recovery.

Recovery is never an easy process, but for a territory that spans several islands the challenges are multiplied,” FEMA’s Federal Coordinating Officer William Vogel said. “We will work with homeowners and help them weigh their options as they make some decisions about their path forward,” he said.

Virgin Islanders who have registered with FEMA and have had a housing inspection can call FEMA at 800-621-3362 or stop by any Disaster Recovery Center to learn more about their housing assistance options.

Survivors have until the Dec. 18 deadline to register with FEMA for assistance. Survivors can register at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362. Individuals who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY can call 800-462-7585 directly. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) can call 800-621-3362.

These toll-free telephone numbers operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Operators are standing by to assist survivors in multiple languages.

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