The Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery in the Northern Marianas is reaching capacity with dozens of families still in need placed on a waitlist.

When we were looking at the numbers. We were noticing that the funding is really going down and there's just too many applicants that are coming in,” said NM Housing Corporation Director Jesse Palacios. 

The CDBG-DR program brings a total of $234M to the CNMI. It has 3 parts: $138M for Housing, $91M for Infrastructure, and $8M for economic development. It came after Supertyphoon Yutu and Typhoon Mangkhut in 2018.

The Housing program’s homebuyer/new construction approved 208 people across the NMI, 126 remain on the waitlist. NMHC said 57 homes out of the 135 ongoing projects have been completed and 78 are under construction. 

 

 They’re targeting at least 100 home construction projects per year.

“The plan right now is to have the ones that have applied and are funded take care of those applicants first, because construction costs have been going up and when they were awarded, or when we approved their, applications, it was just based on up to a $250,000, cap, per home. But now that, they have selected their contractors and they've gone through the process, the estimates that have been coming in are above that -- 270-300k,” said Palacios. 

The housing program also includes rehabilitation/reconstruction and affordable rental housing. They’ve faced some delays due to the permitting process. There’s a 2026 deadline to use the funding.

“We just need to do a little bit more of reprogramming from funds that are not being utilized, for example, in the program, we have planning money. If those aren't really being used, then we can reprogram those funds to the homebuyer where it's mostly needed,” he added.