More than 3,200 families have acquired new homes via CDBG-DR program
By John McPhaul
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez and Housing Finance Authority (AFV by its Spanish initials) Executive Director Blanca Fernández González announced on Wednesday that more than 3,200 families in Puerto Rico already enjoy a new home thanks to the financial help they received from the Direct Buyer Assistance Program financed with Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds.
“My administration has delivered a clear and consistent message to make the opportunities offered by the Department of Housing available to improve the quality of life of our Puerto Rican families,” the governor said in a written statement. “Our priority has always been the efficient and agile use of recovery funds and the Direct Buyer Assistance Program has been an important tool for thousands of families to find a home.”
The federal incentive provides eligible participants with a subsidy of up to $60,000 to cover expenses related to the purchase of a property. The maximum aid is $45,000 for eligible households and up to $55,000 for households made up of at least one first responder. In both cases, it is possible to apply for an additional grant of $5,000 if the home is located in an urban center certified by the island Housing Department.
The Housing secretary stated that “we know that the acquisition of a new home is a longing for many citizens and we want more people to be able to access this help with the available funds.”
“We are proud to announce that with the assistance of the program we have already contributed to fulfilling the dream of more than 3,200 families who now have a decent and safe home of their own,” Rodríguez said. “We will continue to carry the message of the availability of these funds, so that more citizens can access these funds and … help reduce the amount of their mortgage and secure a safe roof over their heads.”
Fernández González noted that “[w]e have worked in collaboration with [the Housing Department] and financial institutions so that these federal funds reach our citizens.”
Rodríguez said the program, which was launched in July 2020 and is managed by the AFV, has an allocation of $295 million. Currently, 56 financial institutions, including banks, cooperatives and mortgage houses have evaluated the 10,526 applications received so far. For additional information, those interested should contact 1-833-234-2324 and access the page Compratucasa.pr.gov.
The announcement was made as part of the Ruta CDBG-DR orientation event that made its last stop of the year in the municipality of Lajas, at Juan E. Lluch Coliseum, where Housing Department and AFV personnel guided citizens on programs such as Direct Assistance to the Buyer, Incubators and Accelerators of Small Businesses, and Job Training, the latter of which seeks to recruit participants who want assistance and training through free courses to generate the workforce that the island needs for its comprehensive recovery.
Also during the Ruta CDBG-DR event, information was offered on economic and employment opportunities under the Section 3 regulation, through which the hiring of low-to-moderate income employees will be prioritized among the contractors of the CDBG-DR program. During orientation, knowledgeable staff oriented and created professional profiles of participants to expose them to federal contracting opportunities funded by CDBG-DR funds.
Also at the event, the governor and the Housing secretary delivered a house from the Reconstruction, Repair or Relocation program as well as more than 60 residential title deeds.