• The San Juan Daily Star

Federal grants totaling $34 million approved for island projects

By John McPhaul

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón announced the approval of 67 projects using federal funds totaling $34.4 million from the U.S. departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice (DOJ), Treasury and Agriculture (USDA).

“I congratulate each of the recipients of these awards for the work that today bears fruit with the approval of their proposals to carry out their projects thanks to these federal grants,” González Colón said. “Each of these items comes from agency or program budgets that we have analyzed and discussed in Congress. That is why I emphasize my willingness to promote these initiatives and defend the necessary allocations to agencies and programs with an impact in Puerto Rico.”

Five primary health centers, known as the 330 Centers, will receive $15.5 million in federal funding from HHS under the Health Center Cluster program, helping them to continue serving the community.

They are: the Corporation for Advanced Medicine and Health Services, which will receive $5.3 million; Hatillo Primary Medical and Prevention Services Corp., which will receive $3.2 million; Morovis Community Health Center Inc., which will receive $2.6 million; Prymed Medical Care, Inc. in Ciales, which has been assigned $2.3 million; and Camuy Health Services Inc., which will receive $2.1 million.

Alliance of Community Health Centers 330 President Dr. Gloria Amador stated that “our centers are non-profit organizations where community members form part of the board of directors.”

“The 12 organizations affiliated with our Alliance have primary health centers in 36 municipalities around the island. Without a doubt, our entity recognizes and appreciates all the efforts and constancy of the resident commissioner, Jenniffer González, in requesting and defending the federal funds that benefit the thousands of patients to whom we provide preventive and primary health services.”

The Puerto Rico Department of Health will receive $486,059 under the Home Visiting program funded by the American Rescue Act. The program supports the provision of voluntary home visiting services for children and families living in communities at risk of poor maternal and child health outcomes.

The visits help support families by providing pregnancy education, developing parenting skills and even offering supplies such as diapers, wipes and hand sanitizers. The new funds will also provide technology to families who need it to participate in virtual home visits.

The Municipality of Ponce Head Start and Early Head Start program will receive $3.7 million.

The Department of Justice approved $899,264 for Guara Bi Inc. under the fiscal year 2021 Second Chance Act Adult Reentry Education, Employment, Treatment and Recovery Program. The organization will be working with the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, and seeks to reduce recidivism rates and assist inmates before and after their release and re-entry into society.

The Institute of Forensic Sciences of Puerto Rico (ICF by its Spanish initials), under the DNA Capacity Improvement Program for Arrears Reduction, will receive $635,846. With those funds the ICF will seek to identify resources to significantly increase the capacity of the laboratory, thus reducing response time and the number of samples awaiting analysis in the casework and database sections.

The ICF will also receive $296,966 under the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program, which will help improve the working time of forensic reports related to opioids in the Sections of Toxicology and Controlled Substances, as well as forensic reports in the areas of Firearms, Controlled Substances, Toxicology, Pathology and investigations of the crime scene; among others.

The Puerto Rico Department of Housing, under the Safe Neighborhood Program (PSN by its Spanish initials), will receive $151,223. The program is based on the philosophy that community empowerment and organization have been an effective antidote to violence in communities. The program seeks to expand the specific interventions of the PSN 2018-2020 strategic plans by expanding the deployment of gunfire detection technology, incorporating analysis of the currently implemented gunfire detection and location technology.

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