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The V.I. Housing Finance Authority has $53 million to spend on recovery projects from the 2017 hurricanes that devastated the territory, and wants the public's help in deciding how to use it.
Both the U.S. Virgin Islands Olympic Committee and the V.I. Housing Finance Authority told senators on Monday about the progress on building multipurpose sports complexes that would double as storm shelters on St. Thomas and St. Croix.
Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority Executive Director Daryl Griffith told senators on Wednesday that "recovery is a marathon," as he relayed “the incredible amount of bureaucracy” that goes into managing and spending nearly $2 billion in disaster grant funding.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the realization of a Virgin Islands Olympic Committee headquarters, which would serve a dual purpose as a sports complex and FEMA approved shelter.
Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. signed legislation this week allowing him to seek up to $80 million in lending in advance of federal disaster assistance, to help the government make ends meet amid a devastating reduction in economic activity.
As of Friday evening the USVI had 266 tested with 40 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 – 26 on St. Thomas, 12 on St. Croix, and two on St. John – along with 184 negative tests, 42 pending. 34 recovered, and no deaths.
More than three million Caribbean people have suffered the permanent or temporary loss of their homes because of adverse weather events in recent years, and the numbers appear to be escalating dramatically.
The need for the territory to successfully create and implement pre- and post-disaster mitigation strategies is urgent.