Four Democratic and independent senators have asked the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security to broaden an ongoing investigation into contracting and hurricane relief problems in Puerto Rico, which is still rebuilding more than a year after Hurricane Maria.
The FEMA program Tu Hogar Renace (“Your Home Rebuilt”) was allocated $1.2 billion to provide quick relief for temporary repairs to damaged roofs, windows, and water heaters. However, news reports have spotlighted high overhead costs and steep markups of supplies, limiting the reach of the dollars.
Housing construction in Puerto Rico is loosely permitted and poorly documented, leaving many homeowners unable to qualify for aid under FEMA rules. The senators also want greater scrutiny of FEMA’s contracting, which has included well-publicized cases of inexperienced contractors winning large and critical contracts.
The letter was signed by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL).