Frett-Gregory Urges Housing Authority to Provide Rent Abatements to Residents Amid COVID-19
April 7, 2020 St. Thomas, USVI- As stay-at-home orders extend through April 30, many experts project the damage to the Virgin Islands economy will extend far past any quarantine timeline. Thousands of Virgin Islands residents, many of whom are hourly or service industry workers, will struggle to cover basic necessities in the coming months, including housing costs. That is why Sen. FrettGregory is asking the affordable housing management companies and the Virgin Islands Housing Authority to consider offering rent deferment to residents to provide relief during this challenging time. According to Frett-Gregory, mortgage companies, both abroad and locally, are providing mortgage holders with the opportunity to defer payments, and private landlords are exploring creative ways to provide relief to tenants. But it appears that residents of affordable housing communities are being overlooked. Affordable housing management entities have taken advantage of the federal tax credits to construct the territory’s affordable housing communities and have the flexibility to, in some way, relieve the financial burden from tenants through rent deferment. Sen. Frett-Gregory believes implementing this will significantly benefit residents. “It is no secret that lay off is on the rise. Just last week, the Commissioner of the Department of Labor reported that he has received over 1,000 unemployment applications. Many of our residents in these communities will be financially impacted by COVID-19 and giving consideration to this ask is important to sustainability”, said Frett-Gregory. “We must also be reminded that many of these units suffered hurricane damages and are still under repair”. The Virgin Islands will continue to experience economic downturn from COVID-19 and residents, especially those who make their living in the tourism industry, will be significantly impacted. Sen. Frett-Gregory is urging these companies to take a look at what others are doing, both nationally and locally, to provide relief to tenants.
CONTACT: Wean Farrell Chief of Staff Office of Senator Donna A. Frett-Gregory firstname.lastname@example.org 340-693-3686