FEMA: USVI Recovery Update
- Virgin Islanders who have no prescription coverage and lost medicine due to the disaster may apply to the Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP) through the end of February for a free 30-day supply of eligible drugs and medical supplies. The program is run by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and funded by FEMA. To apply, call 1-855- 793-7470.
- With FEMA’s recent change in policy to allow private nonprofit houses of worship to be eligible for disaster assistance, the deadline for these entities to make a Request for Public Assistance in the U.S. Virgin Islands has been extended to Feb. 16, 2018.
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a free hazardous waste drop-off for residents of St. Croix on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2-3. The collection site will be at the Home Depot in Kingshill from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
FEMA is supporting the U.S. Virgin Islands on multiple fronts as the territory recovers from hurricanes Irma and Maria, including with housing assistance, public infrastructure rebuilding and repair, including hospitals and schools, debris removal and long-term recovery efforts.
- Federal funding continues to flow to the recovery effort. To date, we have provided more than $721.7 million for response and recovery efforts. Breakdown in funding is as follows:
- FEMA Individuals and Households, includes grants for housing repairs and other needs, such as replacement of personal property, including furniture and necessary appliances: $63.6
- FEMA Public Assistance, includes emergency work, power restoration and debris removal: $258.8 million
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) includes low-interest disaster loans for businesses, homeowners and renters: $395.5 million
- National Flood Insurance Program paid claims: $3.8 million
- Individual Assistance Summary
*Totals may not reflect applicants who have registered in both disasters
Hurricane Irma DR-4335-VI
Hurricane Maria DR-4340-VI
Total Inspections Returned
Housing Assistance Disbursed
Other Needs Assistance Disbursed
SBA Low-interest Disaster Loans: SBA administers low-interest loans to survivors to repair or replace disaster-damaged homes. Homeowners can apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged real estate. Homeowners and renters can apply for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property, including automobiles. Interest rates are as low as 1.75 percent for homeowners, renters, with terms up to 30 years. SBA loans can also be helpful as a supplement for what insurance does not cover. For more information on SBA loans, contact 800-659-2955 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Survivors who are deaf or hard of hearing may call TTY 800-877-8339.
• Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) are also available to provide disaster-related working capital to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The deadline for Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications is June 7, 2018 for Hurricane Irma and June 20, 2018 for Hurricane Maria.
SBA Loan Activity
• Total amount of home loans: $334.6 million(Irma: $174.8; Maria: $159.8 million)
• Total number of home loans: 5,410 (Irma: 2,662; Maria: 2,748)
• Total amount of business loans: $60.9 million (Irma: $41 million; Maria: $19.9 million)
• Total number of business loans: 567 (Irma: 345; Maria: 222)
• SBA is operating in Business Recovery Centers on St. Croix and St. Thomas to provide information
about low-interest disaster loans, answer questions and assist businesses in completing the SBA application. The centers are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
They are located at:
o The Small Business Development Center, 8000 Nisky Center, Suite 720, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
o The Small Business Development Center, 4100 Sion Farm Shopping Center, Suite 16, Christiansted, St. Croix
Housing assistance after a disaster can be challenging and for a territory that spans several islands with few housing resources the challenges are multiplied. FEMA has been working with the territory to identify short- and long-term housing assistance options to meet the individual needs of survivors. These housing assistance options may include:
Individual and Households Program
- Rental assistance may be provided to homeowners and renters to lease a temporary place to live while
repairing an uninhabitable home or finding a new residence. This assistance can be provided for up to 18
months from the date of the disaster declaration for survivors who have a verified need.
- Lodging Expense Reimbursement (LER) is reimbursement for hotel or motel or other short-term
- Repair: Financial assistance to repair an owner-occupied primary residence, utilities, and residential
infrastructure, including privately-owned access routes (i.e., driveways, roads, or bridges) to a safe and
sanitary living or functioning condition.
- Replacement: Financial assistance to help replace an owner-occupied primary residence when the
residence is destroyed. Grants provided for repair and replacement are not intended to return the home to
pre-disaster condition and cannot duplicate benefits received from insurance or other means.
- Direct Lease: FEMA leases existing residential properties which are move-in ready to house eligible
survivors. FEMA is working with property management companies and property owners to identify available properties. This assistance can be provided for up to 18 months from the date of the disaster declaration if survivors can show a verified continuing need. FEMA representatives have been reaching out directly to survivors who may be eligible for this program; it is for a limited population who have
not been able to find temporary housing on their own. Property owners interested in having FEMA lease
their property can email FEMA-USVI-DirectLease@fema.dhs.gov.
- Multi-family Lease and Repair (MLR): MLR authorizes FEMA to repair existing damaged multi-
family housing units (e.g., apartments) to provide housing for eligible survivors. FEMA is working with landlords to identify potential properties for this program. This assistance can be provided for up to 18 months from the date of the disaster declaration if survivors can show a verified continuing need. FEMA representatives have been reaching out directly to survivors who may be eligible for this program; it is for a limited population who have not been able to find temporary housing on their own. Property owners interested in having FEMA lease their property can email FEMA-USVI-MLR@fema.dhs.gov.
- Permanent Housing Construction (PHC), Direct Repairs: Some households eligible for home repair assistance (mentioned above) may meet the criteria for PHC and are being offered an option to participate. PHC involves FEMA hiring contractors directly to repair a home to a safe, sanitary and functional condition. Participation is voluntary. The program is limited to survivors who have at least $17,000 in FEMA Verified Losses (FVL). Any financial assistance previously provided for home repair must be returned to FEMA. FEMA specialists are contacting eligible applicants by phone and email. PHC participants are not eligible to receive Rental Assistance, Direct Lease, MLR or SBA loans.
Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP): STEP is funded by FEMA and administered by the territory, which hires contractors to make basic repairs to enable the damaged home to be an appropriate shelter. Based on FEMA STEP policy and guidelines for the USVI, the territory determines eligibility. The program is intended to provide emergency repairs to allow survivors to shelter in their home. Maximum cost of contracted repairs cannot exceed $25,000. Funds are not paid to survivors. Applicants who participate in this program may still be eligible for FEMA grants or SBA loans, but not Rental Assistance, Direct Lease, and MLR.
- If your condominium was damaged by the storm, take a close look at your insurance coverage. You may have two types of insurance coverage: your condominium association’s master policy and your unit’s insurance policy.
- FEMA may provide Housing Assistance or Other Needs Assistance for eligible disaster-related damages you are responsible for within your unit as an owner-occupant. This generally includes items within the interior surfaces of the unit’s walls, floors and ceilings. You may receive assistance for uninsured or underinsured losses.
- FEMA does not provide assistance for disaster-caused damage to structural elements and common areas shared by all residents. The condo’s master insurance policy covers these parts of the building. These losses are not eligible for IHP unless you submit documentation indicating individual responsibility. You must submit the master policy to be considered for assistance.
Public Assistance specialists are continuing to assess cost estimates for repair projects, including damaged hospitals, schools and other public buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
• So far, $258.8 million has been obligated for emergency work, power restoration and debris removal. (Irma: $4.43 million; Maria: $254.3 million)
• Applicants: 479 Obligated: 48
FEMA has approved more than $138 million in additional grants to pay for restoration of electric power and removal of debris in the U.S. Virgin Islands after hurricanes Irma and Maria. FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) grant program obligated nearly $100 million for power restoration and more than $38 million for debris removal. The grants, which reimburse 100 percent of eligible costs, include:
- $45,615,177 to the V.I. Water and Power Authority-St. Croix for contract power restoration, including labor, equipment and mobilization costs associated with the emergency work.
- $34,495,021 to the V.I. Water and Power Authority-St. Thomas for power restoration.
- $12,953,099 to the V.I. Water and Power Authority-St. Croix for costs associated with the
implementation of mutual aid agreements with power companies in Missouri, Florida and South
- $6,875,325 to the V.I. Water and Power Authority-St. John for power restoration.
• $34,472,000 to the V.I. Department of Public Works-St. Croix for debris removal. • $4,179,120 to the V.I. Department of Public Works-St. Thomas for debris removal.
These grants are in addition to more than $118 million in grants previously approved for emergency work after the hurricanes.
Houses of Worship
FEMA changed its policy to allow private nonprofit houses of worship to be eligible for disaster assistance. The deadline for these entities to make a Request for Public Assistance in the U.S. Virgin Islands has been extended to Feb. 16, 2018. FEMA financial assistance for the repair or replacement of a house of worship facility is limited to costs that a loan from the SBA will not cover. Houses of worship must first apply to the SBA for a disaster loan. FEMA will provide financial assistance if the house of worship is denied a loan or if the loan authorized is insufficient to cover repair costs.
Long-term Recovery Groups
To help address unmet needs, members of local, faith- and community-based organizations and nongovernmental partners are coming together to establish Long-Term Recovery Groups (LTRGs) in St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. Some survivors affected by the hurricanes do not meet the eligibility criteria for government disaster aid programs, or will continue to have unmet needs even after receiving the maximum amount of help from these programs.
• Total eligible restored: 98 percent (St. Croix: 98.2 percent; St. Thomas: 97.1 percent; St. John: 99.4
- Total debris removed: 683,004 cubic yards (St. Croix: 497,003; St. Thomas: 137,563; St. John: 48,438)
of approximately 785,000 total cubic yards.
- FEMA uses mission assignments to task and reimburse other federal departments and agencies to
provide direct assistance including debris removal. As a result of the two major disaster declarations, FEMA has been authorized to fund 100 percent of the cost for debris cleanup for the first six months from the start of the incident periods for hurricanes Irma and Maria – until March, 4, 2018 for Irma and March 15, 2018 for Maria. This cost share applies to ALL debris removal operations regardless of the reduction method.
- In St. John and St. Thomas, the debris mission is assigned to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
- In St. Croix, the VI Department of Public Works is managing debris pickup and the VI Waste
Management Authority is responsible for the temporary debris sites.
• Patients continue to be transported from the USVI when they need emergency medical care not currently available on the islands, and the USVI government continues to coordinate with FEMA and Department of HHS in this effort. When a patient has Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance, the USVI government works with the local hospital to arrange for transportation to appropriate medical facilities
on the mainland.
• For patients who do not have Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance, HHS coordinates with the USVI
government, the local hospital and HHS partners in the National Disaster Medical System to move the patient to the continental U.S. For these patients, FEMA pays for the air ambulance transport by reimbursing the hospital or territory through the FEMA Public Assistance Program.
Hazardous Household Waste
• The EPA is collecting household hazardous waste. Residents have been dropping off batteries, fluorescent bulbs, household cleaners, paints and solvents, pesticides, etc. at several locations throughout the territory. So far, EPA has collected hazardous material items, such as paints, used waste oil, fuel from recovered vessels and recycle items. The agency is recycling electronic waste, Freon from refrigerators, vehicle and marine batteries and lead from sailboat keels. Collection sites are at the following locations:
• St. Croix:
Frederiksted at Evelyn Williams Elementary School, 13A Mt. Pleasant
• Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Kingshill at Home Depot
• Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday only; Feb. 2-3 • St. John:
Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center
• Hours of operation: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Last day
Coral Bay Fire Station
• Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday only; Last day Feb. 24.
• St. Thomas:
• Hours of operation: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday; Last day Feb. 18.
Home Depot at Tutu-Donoe Road
• Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday only; Last day Feb. 17.
E. Benjamin Oliver School at 148 325 Anna’s Retreat
• Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday only; Last day Feb. 3.
Bordeaux former Police Station at West End-Fortuna Road
• Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday only; Last day Feb. 3.
• The territorial government is advising survivors to properly sort household debris and push it to the edge of their property near the street for collection. For debris to be collected, it must be sorted into four categories: Whites (appliances), Electronics, Vegetation, and Roofing or Construction Materials.
FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)
• FEMA in conjunction with Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) will be conducting Applicant Briefings for HMGP on St. Croix and St. Thomas. Persons attending should include representatives from government agencies and private nonprofit organizations. Contact Emerito Torres the Territorial Hazard Mitigation Officer, at Emerito.Torres@VITEMA.VI.Gov or call 340-773-2244 Ext. 212 to confirm attendance by Feb. 5. Briefings will be at the following locations:
o St. Croix:
The Virgin Islands Cardiac Center at the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital, 9 a.m. to
12 p.m. on Feb. 7
o St. Thomas:
VITEMA Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 8221 Nisky Center, 9 a.m. to 12
p.m. on Feb. 8
Disaster Recovery Centers
- Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) are open across the territory to provide information and help for survivors of hurricanes Irma and Maria who still have questions about their applicants, need follow- up or to speak with a disaster recovery specialist face-to-face for information. SBA has staff at all DRCs to provide one-on-one assistance with submitting late applications and answering any questions. DRCs are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
o St. John DRC is located in:
Cruz Bay at the U.S. Virgin Islands Legislature, St. John Annex, 1D
o St. Croix DRC is located in:
Frederiksted at the Rotary Club West, 40 KA-KD Estate LaGrange
o St. Thomas DRC is located in:
Charlotte Amalie at Tutu Park Mall, 4605 Tutu Park Mall, Suite 233
- To date, the DRCs have logged a total of 60,223 visits.