Family Dept. gets $1.9M in FEMA funds to revamp HQ’s, 15 offices
The Puerto Rico Family Dept. has received the approval for some $1.9 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding to carry out permanent construction work in its central offices in Hato Rey and regional offices in 15 towns.
Some the most significant work at the agency’s headquarters is cleaning, decontamination, and archiving, as well as the removal and replacement of contents in the agency’s main offices, for which FEMA obligated more than $1.1 million.
“This obligation of funds results in the benefit of thousands of participants that visit the Famly Department’s facilities to get assistance for the programs offered by the agency,” said the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator in Puerto Rico, José G. Baquero.
The Family Department is the umbrella agency in charge of providing social services programs in Puerto Rico. These include food support through the Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN, by its Spanish acronym) to approximately 870,000 families, administering Head Start, Early Headstart and Childcare funds, assisting low-income families and ensuring the livelihood and well-being of children and the elderly through various other programs.
“These allocations have a positive impact on the reach of the services directed towards accomplishing a better and more effective participation, equity and social justice in the affected regions,” stated the Family Secretary, Carmen Ana González.
Meanwhile, the agency’s Arecibo region was allocated nearly $235,000 for similar work. Due to the flooding caused by Hurricane María, this office lost most of its furniture and equipment. This obligation includes work at its offices in Barceloneta, Lares, Las Marías, Manatí, Morovis, Quebradillas, Utuado and Florida.
The multi-service facilities in Bayamón, Ponce, Guayama, Humacao, Mayagüez, Carolina and Caguas also underwent furniture and equipment replacement work, for which nearly $181,000 was granted.
Those offices provide program participants access to educational and preventive social services, which helps reduce the risk factors that cause violence in the family in the form of child neglect, abuse, and gender-based violence.
To date, FEMA has obligated more than $7.5 million to the Family Department for 18 projects, to address emergency work caused by Hurricane María and permanent work, the federal agency confirmed.