The Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Adrianne Todman, met with Governor Albert Bryan Jr. to discuss a variety of housing issues in the territory on Monday.
“We had a very productive discussion and I’m looking forward to working with Deputy Secretary Todman, who, as a native Virgin Islander, understands the sometimes special circumstances and needs we have as a territory,” Gov. Bryan said in a press release.
During the online meeting, Todman and Bryan discussed adjusting requirements for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, so renters and landlords affected by the pandemic can receive funding.
“Deputy Secretary Todman said she will work with us so Virgin Islanders can get their fair share of the benefits,” Bryan said.
Todman plans to discuss with FEMA the governor’s request to waive the 10% local match for recovery projects, to enable Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds to be used more directly.
Bryan raised concerns on homelessness and rental assistance, and Todman said she will work with her staff to see if there are ways to provide more flexibility to use specified Housing and Urban Development funds for those purposes.
The governor explained to the deputy secretary that the current formula for home construction costs and federal income requirements don’t accurately reflect the needs of Virgin Islanders, thus limiting the administration’s ability to provide relief with the intended funding.
Todman said that Housing and Urban Development expects to receive about $300 billion in funding in the reconciliation bill currently before Congress. In addition to some of the funding earmarked for rental assistance, there is a fair amount of money slated for homeowner down payment assistance programs, according to the press release.
Also attending the meeting were Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne Williams, V.I. Housing Finance Authority Executive Director Daryl Griffith, V.I. Housing Authority Executive Director Robert Graham and Housing Finance Authority Chief Disaster Recovery Officer Dayna Clendinen.
Todman plans to visit the territory in the near future.
“I look forward to welcoming her home,” Bryan said.