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USDA Rural Development awards $2.4M to Loíza for essential vehicles

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has awarded slightly more than $2.4 million to the Municipality of Loíza, Puerto Rico for the purchase of essential equipment and the rehabilitation of a home in “urgent need of improvements.”

The low-interest loan covered the purchase of trucks and vehicles for community services in Loíza, according to Maximiliano J. Trujillo-Ortega, USDA Rural Development’s state director for Puerto Rico.

The vehicles will be distributed among the town’s Office of Emergency Management, Municipal Public Works, Municipal Police, and the Municipal Sanitation Office.

Loíza Mayor Julia Nazario-Fuentes said, “The reconstruction processes have been long and detailed for the correct use of resources. We continue working and moving forward.”

Additionally, the federal agency provided a grant of approximately $60,000 from the Presidential Grant for Disaster Home Repair and Section 504 funds for the repair of Loíza resident Iris Lorenzo-Manzo’s home.

Lorenzo-Manzo, a retiree with limited income, lives in the Villa Carmen Sector of the Medianía Baja neighborhood. Her home, which stands on her grandparents’ land, was damaged by Hurricane Fiona. Despite numerous attempts to seek assistance, she had been unsuccessful until now,” agency officials said.

The concrete, wood and zinc residence had leaks and had several structural issues that did not meet building codes and standards.

The funding was used to demolish the uninhabitable second floor and remodel the first floor in concrete, which is her primary residence. The repairs aimed to provide Lorenzo-Manzo “with safe and adequate housing to improve her quality of life,” the agency said.

As of March 8, the maximum assistance available under the Presidential Disaster Home Repair Grant has increased to $42,920. Trujillo-Ortega encourages eligible citizens to apply for the program, as funds are still available for those affected by Hurricane Fiona.

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

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