By John McPhaul
Announcing the availability of the Transparency Portal for Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds on Sunday, island Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez said the portal’s purpose is to provide an accessible tool for closely monitoring the transformation of the island.
“Transparency and accountability are essential elements for achieving the effective use of the funds allocated to the island,” Rodríguez said. “Our commitment and Governor Pedro Pierluisi’s directive is that this be fully complied with.
For this reason, this tool that we proudly present has the main purpose of providing citizens with clear information on the investment of CDBG-DR funds in Puerto Rico’s recovery. This effort will be key in clarifying inaccurate statements about the use and implementation of reconstruction funds and to reinforce the available content about the construction work that is carried out daily throughout the island.”
The portal, which is incorporated into the CDBG-DR home page, will provide information on the investment and performance of the funds in the nearly 20 programs currently operating under the $10 billion-plus grant agreement awarded by the United States government to promote the integrated recovery of the island after the passage of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.
“The trust of the federal government in our management, and after the elimination of restrictions by the Biden-Harris administration, establishes a great responsibility that we assume to continue the recovery of the island in an agile way,” the Housing chief said. “We recognize that understanding the operation of all the programs can be complex and part of what we wanted to develop with this tool is an easier way to understand the programs and what they are doing for our island.”
The official noted that publication of the new Transparency Portal coincides with the substantial progress that the Repair, Reconstruction and Relocation (R3), Direct Assistance to the Buyer, and Financing for Small Businesses programs have experienced during recent months.
Through the recovery programs, it has been possible to provide a safe roof under the R3 program to more than 4,165 Puerto Rican families, Rodríguez noted. Financing has been provided for the purchase of almost 2,015 new homes on the island and the recovery of more than 1,676 businesses has been promoted.
Regarding the Transparency Portal, he described how the platform will provide information on the obligation and disbursement of funds, with specific data on the various forms of assistance offered by CDBG-DR programs to citizens, nongovernmental organizations, municipalities and central government agencies.