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Foundation for P.R. begins 1st phase of Whole Community Resilience Program

Foundation for Puerto Rico has signed an agreement with the Department of Housing to lead the coordination of the Whole Community Resilience Planning Program, the nonprofit announced.

As
part of the first phase, FPR is building a multisectoral working group that
will include key government, community, non-government and nonprofit
organizations in Puerto Rico that have the knowledge and experience in the
different focus areas of the program, specifically: housing, health and
environment, education, infrastructure and economic development.

The
Multisectoral Working Group will collaborate with communities on developing
resilience plans to prevent, prepare and handle emergency situations, including
natural disasters.

Housing
assigned $37.5 million for the program from the funding allocation of the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant for Disaster
Recovery.

Puerto
Rico Housing Secretary Fernando Gil Enseñat said the allocation of funds
follows approval of the Action Plan by the Housing Department and HUD to fund
activities and programs aimed at recovery, and that benefit Communities
affected by the Hurricanes Irma and María.

“These
working group partnerships are crucial to achieving a more comprehensive and
inclusive process, and will result in higher quality and sustainable plans,”
said Annie Mayol, President of FPR.

“We’re
excited to continue to carry out projects driven by collaborations with
partners, including government, private sector, third sector, communities and
individuals for the economic and social development of Puerto Rico,” she said.

Meanwhile,
Nelson Colón-Tarrats, president of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, said”we
have seen how many communities, with the support of community-based
organizations, were able to cope with the ravages that [Hurricane] Maria left.”

“With
this collaborative planning process, we will lay the foundations for continuing
to strengthen communities in a participatory way, enabling their own
development. We hope that this collaborative platform will allow a process
conducive to action with agility and speed,” he said.

The
first phase will focus on collecting and publishing the data needed to
determine and inform communities about their existing situation and
vulnerability in areas such as housing, economic development, education,
infrastructure, environment and health.

The
second phase will consist of the publication of the Notification of
Availability of Funds (known as NOFA). This document will describe the
participation parameters for communities, and the selection criteria to receive
funds for the development of their plans.

“We
have served and will continue to serve as a liaison, especially after Hurricane
Maria, to support communities around the island so they can have access to
updated and reliable data, in addition to information to create their own plans
with the financing and necessary tools that will allow them to prepare,
mitigate risks, quickly manage, and recover from emergencies, including natural
disasters,” said Maria Jaunarena, executive vice president of FPR.

The
signed agreement puts the Whole Community Resilience Program into action as
part of the broader initiatives around the recovery of the island.

“Through
this agreement, we will work directly on the development of a comprehensive
plan that benefits the communities affected by Hurricanes Irma and María. In
turn, it will allow eligible communities to develop planning and management
policies to streamline housing and infrastructure repair, as well as revitalize
the economy,” said Gil-Enseñat.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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