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Recovering From Hurricanes Irma and Maria


  • The 2017 hurricane season brought startlingly catastrophic storms.
  • Responding at scale in the wake of the storms requires technical expertise.
  • Abt provides TA to help HUD grantees in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
The Challenge

In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria left behind a massive trail of destruction in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Local officials were faced with the challenge of quickly and efficiently assessing the most pressing needs, and determining how to best use HUD’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to begin the recovery process.

The Approach

HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development contracted Abt to provide technical assistance on the Certification and Action Planning processes that both territories must implement to receive CDBG-DR funds. This work entails collaboration with a multi-firm technical assistance team and advising the officials in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on topics such as:

  • Data analysis for an assessment of unmet needs;
  • Designing recovery activities, including housing, economic development and infrastructure activities;
  • Compliance with CDBG program rules and cross-cutting regulations;
  • Community and stakeholder engagement; and
  • Measurement and evaluation.
The Results

Technical assistance is currently underway, and is delivered remotely and on-site. Abt’s approach involves coordinating efforts with the grantees’ contractor teams, reviewing products and plans, and providing ongoing consultation with HUD.