The San Juan Daily Star
Gov’t begins to install solar panels at public housing project
By The Star Staff
With a cost of $937,000 and a contribution of more than $530,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds, the island Housing Department began a project to install solar panels at the El Zorzal Apartments multifamily public residential complex in San Juan.
Accompanied by La Fortaleza Chief of Staff Noelia García, Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez made the announcement from the housing complex that is managed by the nonprofit organization Lucha Contra el Sida Inc., and that provides transitional housing to people in situations of vulnerability and in need of special accommodations.
Rodríguez pointed out that “affordable housing is a right of all and … these vulnerable populations who receive assistance from projects like El Zorzal, know that they have the support of the government of Puerto Rico.”
“Through the recovery funds we are contributing to the development of an island with more housing opportunities that improve the quality of life of those who need it most,” he added.
The CDBG-DR Social Interest Housing Program creates and rehabilitates housing units for homeless people, older adults, victims of domestic violence, those with disabilities, and those living with HIV or recovering from addictions.
The $537,057 investment will include the installation of photovoltaic (PVS) systems for the benefit of residents.
El Zorzal Apartments consist of 22 permanent housing units with one- and two-bedroom units and support services for the homeless.
The improvements to El Zorzal’s electrical systems and the implementation of renewable energy systems are part of an initiative to allow populations in social housing to have a modern, resilient and safe place to live and receive the services they require.
Those in-home and other services include, according to the resident’s situation, case management, primary health care and medical evaluations, mental health services, education and outreach programs, support groups, job training and transportation, among others.
The Social Assistance Housing Program is managed by the Housing Department and implemented by eligible nongovernmental organizations that submitted their proposals and were evaluated according to their ability to manage CDBG-DR funds.