The Department of Housing (HUD) is going to release more than $8 billion in emergency disaster aid funding to Puerto Rico, sources tell Politico. There's nearly $18 billion that Congress has authorized since 2017's Hurricanes Maria and Irma that still has not been released.
HUD was legally obligated to release the funds in September, but Ben Carson's agency has been holding them on the premise that there weren't sufficient protections in Puerto Rico to prevent their misuse. Keeping up that fiction a HUD official told Politico that "a full financial monitoring team is assembled and active" now, so "we can move forward with confidence that these disaster recovery funds will reach those who need them the most."
The recent earthquake in Puerto Rico intensified the need for these funds, which were intended to address the aftermath of 2017's hurricanes. There has been intensified pressure from Democratic leadership—and intensified media attention—since the earthquake on HUD to release this money.
The news is a boost to Puerto Rico's Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón who pled the island's case with Trump directly last week. She released a statement Tuesday night saying "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."