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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

González Colón meets with representatives of public housing complexes

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón

By The Star Staff

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón responded on Monday to a request from members of the Coalition of Leaders Fighting for the Rights of Our Communities, one of the groups representing public housing residents across the island, to discuss the status of federal funding that the Public Housing Administration has received.

“We have more than 300 public housing units in Puerto Rico, which represents thousands of units and families. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to me to maintain the direct line of communication that I have with these community leaders, to always be aware of their needs,” said González Colón, who is seeking to become the New Progressive Party candidate for governor in this year’s elections. “In the same way that I have supervised the disbursement of the funds that we have secured for other priorities, we are doing it with the nearly $2 billion for our residential homes because we want this money not to be lost and for it to reach the people who need it, that the people see and feel that they are being invested in.”

Within the public housing complexes that comprise the coalition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has obligated the following funds: Ext. Santa Catalina $67,255.04; Santa Catalina $10,903.77; Santa Catalina $1,089,799.71; SSM Santa Catalina $3,690,239.40; Luis Llorens Torres-Youth Center $32,674,119.13; Luis Llorens Torres $32,042,787.98; Luis LLorens Torres $31,534,616.26; 1st Ext. Manuel A. Pérez $307,610.15; 2nd Ext. Manuel A. Pérez $5,761,453.58; Manuel A. Pérez $4,130,392.16; Nemesio R. Canales $24,607,523.46; Nemesio R. Canales $24,546,147.58; Monte Hatillo II Gardens $13,261,046.25; Monte Hatillo I Gardens $9,643,587.82; Turabo Heights $2,455,813.16; Father J. Rivera $6,164,377.18; Jesús T. Piñeiro $5,249,233.44; Jose H. Ramírez $7,040,589.91; Torres del Río $1,161,193.13; Fray Bartolomé de las Casas $14,206,923.34; El Prado $8,229,916.22; Puerto Real $3,064,337.54; Santiago Veve Calzada $4,900,296.70; Dr. Víctor Berríos $8,252,277.60; and Villa España $19,747,334.40.

The projects that are awaiting some documentation, according to FEMA, are Diego Zalduondo Veve and Bonneville Heights.

Puerto Rico receives funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Public Housing Program to help cover operating and capital expenditures in public housing through the Public Housing Administration.

In addition, FEMA has awarded over $1.3 billion in reconstruction funds following Hurricane Maria to fund improvements and mitigate damage to residential areas. Similarly, HUD has allocated over $42 million for operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the congressionally approved federal government budget, the resident commissioner said, Puerto Rico will receive about $294 million for operational expenses in public housing during fiscal year 2022 and a similar amount for fiscal year 2023. The island also received about $177 million for capital expenditures in fiscal year 2022 and over $174 million for fiscal year 2023. Those funds are allocated by way of a formula to ensure that the expenses are covered annually.

The HUD Public Housing Program provides federal rental assistance to low-income families across the island. HUD administers federal aid to public housing agencies, also known as PHAs, which in Puerto Rico is the Public Housing Administration.

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