November 17, 2020
St. Croix, USVI – The Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority (VIHFA) is pleased to announce that its Community Development Block Grant – Mitigation Action Plan draft is published and available for review and feedback.
The Plan is posted on the CDBG-DR website at https://cdbgdr.vihfa.gov/
Public hearings to discuss proposed programs and activities funded by CDBG-MIT are scheduled for Thursday, November 12 and 19, 2020. The public comment period for the MIT action plan is open until December 22 and comments can be emailed to [email protected].
The Authority was appropriated $774 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for disaster mitigation planning and projects through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-MIT). Mitigation-funded activities will lessen the impact of disasters by increasing resilience to current and future hazards. However, before funds can be drawn down from HUD, the territory must submit a detailed plan of action based on input from residents that focus on mitigation activities.
The CDBG-MIT funds represent a unique and significant opportunity for the U.S. Virgin Islands to carry out strategic and high-impact activities to minimize, mitigate or eliminate risks and reduce losses from future disasters. In addition to mitigating disaster risks, funds can assist with the improvement of local planning protocols and procedures in the territory.
The Plan out for review proposes the use of funds for mitigation programs and activities to address unmet needs in Infrastructure & Public Facilities; Economic Resilience & Revitalization; Housing; Public Services; and Planning.
The Plan also includes a Mitigation Needs Assessment (MNA) of the Territory, which provides an analysis of the specific weather conditions present in each island, and the weaknesses in the disaster recovery cycle. Mitigation needs are placed in the context of “Community Lifelines,” critical parts of communities, that when damaged, present a major obstacle to full recovery. Community Lifelines include but are not limited to, communications, safety & security and food, water and shelter.
The MIT program is separate from the CDBG Disaster Recovery (DR) program currently in motion. Unlike DR, Mitigation activities do not have to have a tie to the 2017 hurricanes and the timeline for expenditure of funds is twelve years from the date the grant agreement is signed.
Following a 45-day comment period, the Action Plan will be sent to HUD for review and approval.
In addition to the virtual public hearing, the mitigation team has a survey in circulation collecting responses on residents’ opinions of priority items following a hurricane or declared natural disaster. The survey can be found on the VIHFA website at www.vihfa.gov.