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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Housing Dept. signs pact to repair quake-hit properties in 6 towns

Present at the signing of the agreement were mayors Luis Irizarry Pabón of Ponce, Ismael Rodríguez Ramos of Guánica, Raúl Rivera Rodríguez of Guayanilla, Jayson Martínez Maldonado of Lajas, Ángel Luis Torres of Yauco, and Gregory Gonsález Souchet of Peñuelas.

By The Star Staff

Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez has signed an agreement with the mayors of six southern Puerto Rico municipalities affected by the 2019 earthquakes.

The agreement, which includes the municipalities of Guánica, Guayanilla, Lajas, Peñuelas, Ponce and Yauco, will usher in the use of $36.4 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds for long-term disaster recovery assistance.

“Through this agreement, we seek to effectively implement the funds available for southern recovery by integrating the most affected municipalities in their administration and management, as mandated by Governor Pedro Pierluisi,” Rodríguez said during the signing. “This is a crucial opportunity for the municipalities themselves and the low-income families who still need to live under a safe roof.”

The amount that will fund the new program for the Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Homes due to Earthquakes (SR2) arose after a special allocation of CDBG-DR funds defined by Federal Register 86 FR 569, which the U.S. government issued on Jan. 6, 2021 to cover the needs of households affected by the 2019 and 2020 earthquakes. The Register also identifies the municipalities of Guánica, Yauco, Guayanilla, and Ponce as the most impacted and affected areas.

Under the administration of a new consortium comprising the six municipalities under the name ConSur, the SR2 program will assist homeowners in repairing damaged residences or rebuilding substantially affected homes in the same location.

The Housing Department will be the state administrator of these funds and, as a federal requirement, will develop an action plan focused on using the $36,424,000 and the SR2 program, available on the “Action Plan” tab of the portal.

ConSur will now begin the process of implementing the plan, starting with the identification of a project manager.

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