In September 2017, Puerto Rico was impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria within the span of two weeks. Irma passed Puerto Rico on September 6, 2017 as one of the largest hurricanes to ever form in the Atlantic. Maria followed and made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017 as a Category 4 Hurricane, the largest and most damaging storm to strike the island since 1928.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) activated the Housing Recovery Support Function (RSF) under the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) to support response and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the coordinating agency and in this role collaborates with FEMA and other federal partners to support the housing recovery priorities established by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. This support includes coordinating federal and Commonwealth partners in identifying housing recovery challenges and priorities, providing technical assistance on federal housing recovery resources, co-sponsorship of the Puerto Rico Housing Recovery Task Force, implementation of Disaster Recovery Resource Fairs across the island, conducting community assessments and surveys across several municipalities, and the development of damage assessment and recovery strategy documents as resources for the Commonwealth and municipal governments.
As part of these efforts, HUD and Housing RSF partners collaborated on this Puerto Rico Damage Assessment and Recovery Strategies Report. The report culminates months of data gathering, strategy development across local partners, including identifying unmet needs, recovery priorities and potential strategies that were raised by stakeholders participating in the Puerto Rico Housing Recovery Task Force committees, and the results of various community-level damage assessments. No single document can address all the issues and strategies for the recovery of Puerto Rico, yet this document summarizes pre-disaster housing market conditions, issues and challenges to recovery, unmet needs, and a proposed housing recovery agenda across three over-arching goals, 12 recovery priorities, and numerous corresponding strategies.