Rosselló announces $37.5M collaborative community planning program

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced the signing of an agreement between the Puerto Rico Department of Housing and Foundation for Puerto Rico to start administering the Community Resilience Program, which has a budget of $37.5 million.The funding comes from the Community Development Block Grant Program, which has set aside disaster recovery funds.

The program’s priority are high-risk communities, those located in flood-prone areas, are vulnerable to landslides or communities that are in highly damaged areas.

“Our administration remains focused and committed to the recovery of Puerto Rico. Through this agreement, we will work directly in the development of a comprehensive plan that benefits communities affected by Hurricanes Irma and María,” Rosselló said.

“In turn, the agreement will allow eligible communities to develop planning policies to streamline management and repair of housing and infrastructure and revitalize the economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, Department of Housing Secretary Fernando Gil-Enseñat said “through this agreement, goals, as well as short- and long-term recovery programs and activities will be established.”

The funding will “cover the needs of Puerto Ricans that were not addressed by other funds. This includes those related to insurance claims,” he said.

The comprehensive restoration project of homes and businesses that suffered substantial losses the disasters will be possible through the Plan of Action adopted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Gil-Enseñat said.

“With this new step, Foundation for Puerto Rico, in conjunction with the Puerto Rico Office for Socio-Economic and Community Development, will be in charge of identifying the real needs of each community, so that we can immediately start the recovery work,” said Gil-Enseñat.

“Foundation for Puerto Rico has been a believer in the need to create new meeting spaces that promote the exchange of ideas and knowledge across sectors and facilitate collaboration,” said Foundation for Puerto Rico President Annie Mayol.

“The Foundation has a history of working and collaborating with all sectors, including public, private, academia and other nonprofit organizations,” she said.

Puerto Rico is looking “to develop recovery strategies that not only protect the lives and property from future danger, but also to promote a process of inclusive and participatory recovery that allows all residents to recognize the benefits of revitalized communities,” Rosselló said.  

An additional $17.5 million was included in the government’s second Plan of Action, which was already submitted to HUD, pushing the total to $ 55 million in federal funds requested to continue developing comprehensive planning in favor of Puerto Rican communities, the governor’s office confirmed.

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