Real Estate

HUD developing plan to move displaced Puerto Ricans inland

Two-thirds of island remains without electricity

It’s been six weeks since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, leaving much of the island in ruins and without power, and no two thirds of the island remains without power.

Now, officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are looking into providing housing to the island’s displaced population, according to an article by Joe Light for Bloomberg. And HUD’s solution could be to evacuate the island and bring those residents to the mainland.

From the article:

The most recent push for a solution began after a meeting on Friday that included officials from HUD, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the White House and others, according to the people. But it’s unclear if the White House or any agencies outside of HUD are coordinating with the housing agency, or if the ideas are only being developed within the department for now.

Agency officials in the past two days have contacted executives in the housing industry, investment managers with ties to Puerto Rico, and others in an attempt to brainstorm potential solutions, said the people, who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak to the media.

But it is important to note this evacuation idea is still in its early stages, and could never come to pass due to logistical challenges, the article explains.

To see more details on HUD’s potential plan, and the department’s response to questions about moving the island’s residents to the mainland, click here.

These wouldn’t be the first Puerto Ricans to Florida, as since the beginning of the month, more than 73,000 of the island’s residents came in through airports in Miami and Orlando, or through the Port Everglades seaport.

The article explained homes provided to displaced residents after Hurricane Katrina, while planned as temporary solutions, lasted nearly seven years.

And while Florida may be seen as a safe haven to Puerto Ricans, it continues to deal with its own hurricane-recovery efforts as it rebuilds from Hurricane Irma. A recent report from Black Knight showed non-current mortgage inventory rose by 84,000, or 48%, in Irma disaster areas.

To put this in perspective, before the hurricanes hit, Texas and Florida ranked 20th and 22nd among states by non-current mortgage rates. But, after the storms, they ranked 3rd and 5th, respectively.

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