The Department of Housing and Urban Development will allow Puerto Rico to access more than $8 billion in blocked disaster aid funding, Politico reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. Puerto Rico, which has been recovering from Hurricanes Maria and Irma in 2017, has only received $1.5 billion of about $20 billion in congressionally authorized disaster funding that HUD is supposed to administer. The U.S. territory will be able to access $8.2 billion once a Federal Register notice is published outlining the grant agreement and how the money can be used, according to Politico. The department missed the September legal deadline for releasing the aid, citing political unrest and the subsequent need to ensure financial safeguards. Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González told Politico the island needs the aid “now more than ever after the earthquakes” that have struck the island in recent weeks. “We’ve been fighting for this for many months so I’m happy that finally [the Office of Management and Budget] and HUD approved the notification,” she said. “It’s the best news in months,” she added.
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