|HUD No. 00-237|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||11:30 a.m., Thursday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||September 7, 2000|
CUOMO AWARDS $2.8 MILLION IN HUD ASSISTANCE
FOR HURRICANE RECONSTRUCTION IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
NEW YORK Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo and President Hipolito Mejia of the Dominican Republic announced today more than $2.8 million in HUD assistance to help the Caribbean country rebuild from the devastation caused by Hurricane Georges.
The assistance, to be used initially in metropolitan Santo Domingo, the capital, will help 12,500 Dominican households affected by the September 1998 storm and provide for repairs to more than 2,500 housing units. Hurricane Georges killed at least 300 Dominicans, destroyed some 48,000 homes belonging to mostly low-income people and badly damaged another 123,000 homes when it passed directly through the Dominican Republic.
"Most of this money will go to provide cash grants that hard-hit families will then use for down payments to reconstruct and improve their housing," Cuomo told a news conference. "As I said when I last visited the Dominican Republic in June 1999, every cloud has a silver lining. Hurricane Georges has given HUD and the United States the opportunity to do many things and form partnerships in the Dominican Republic that should have been done and formed anyway. So a good thing has come about from this tragedy."
Mejia, who was inaugurated as president last
month, said: "I am pleased to receive this help from the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development in an area of vital importance for my country.
Housing is one of the priorities of my administration and the program we
are initiating today strengthens our projects to improve the quality of
life for the neediest Dominicans. I trust that we will continue working
together on new challenges and interesting programs."
Some $2.5 million of the assistance comes from the $10 million Congress gave HUD to help the Central American and Caribbean countries ravaged by Hurricanes Mitch and Georges. In the Dominican Republic, the assistance will provide:
- $1 million to fund mortgage and home improvement
loans for very low-income families in hurricane-devastated neighborhoods
of Santo Domingo. The Dominican private sector will add its own funds,
and work with Dominican non-governmental organizations and savings and
- $434,000 to develop and deliver programs
that train borrowers and lenders how to apply for and obtain mortgages
and home improvement loans from the financial sector. Acción International,
a leading U.S. micro-lender, will provide $109,000 of this assistance.
- $850,000 in technical assistance for municipal
reconstruction and disaster mitigation. A HUD-assembled team of U.S.
and Dominican experts in architecture, planning, engineering, construction
and environmental assessment will provide the Santo Domingo municipalities
with technical assistance and training to address the challenges of squatter
settlement redevelopment. HUD will also provide community development
services to poor communities located in vulnerable locations such as riverbanks
and areas subject to landslides.
- $301,400, including $101,400 from the
National Association of Home Builders Research Center, to train professional
planners and municipal officials in the latest and most appropriate technology
for addressing issues related to environmental disasters, and to train
builders, community-based organizations and community leaders in selecting
appropriate building materials and using techniques and construction technologies
for safe, low-cost housing. The American Association of Urban Planners,
prominent Dominican institutions such as the Center for Urban and Regional
Studies at the Catholic University of Madre y Maestra in Santo Domingo,
and Dominican government agencies will cooperate in this project.
- $241,600 in program assistance and in-country support for the entire project.
The assistance is the latest HUD effort to help the Dominican Republic recover from the ravages of Hurricane Georges. President Clinton appointed Cuomo in September 1998 to head the U.S. federal response to the disaster, and the United States has provided some $76 million in recovery and reconstruction assistance to date.
Cuomo led an Administration and Congressional
delegation to the Dominican Republic in late September 1998 and days after
sent a HUD team to determine how the United States could best use its construction
expertise to rebuild homes damaged or destroyed by the hurricane. In a
follow-up visit in June 1999, Cuomo announced $29 million in additional
U.S. disaster relief to aid rebuilding efforts and participated in a roundtable
discussion on disaster mitigation and safer house building with Dominican
officials and non-governmental representatives.