Public hearings on southern/western recovery action plan begin today
By The Star Staff
The island Housing Department announced Sunday that it will hold five public hearings to discuss changes to be incorporated into the Action Plan for the use of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds in communities impacted by the 2019-2020 earthquakes and Tropical Storm Isaias.
“We continue to strengthen administrative strategies to effectively implement the funds available in the recovery of the south and the municipality of Mayagüez affected by the storm Isaias, so that the mayors of the most affected communities have a greater participation in the administration and management of the projects that will be carried out in the region,” Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez said.
The hearings on the plan for the use of the $184.6 million allocated for the recovery of the southern and western regions will be held today at the Ponce City Hall starting at 4:30 p.m., on Tuesday in the Yauco Municipal Legislature starting at 10 a.m., on Dec. 9 at the Bo Beach Community Center in Guayanilla starting at 10 a.m., and on Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. at the Ensenada Puerto Rican Club in Guánica and at 4 p.m. at Anastasio Ruiz Irizarry Cultural Center in Lajas.
The amendment to the plan includes unmet needs following Tropical Storm Isaias, a new needs assessment for the use of the mitigation fund reserve, and data on public outreach efforts and stakeholder engagement following the publication of the original action plan.
The Housing Department opened a period for public comment on Nov. 4, after publishing the draft amendment to the action plan, still available on the page www.cdbg-dr.pr.gov. That citizen participation effort, along with the feedback that the agency will receive in public hearings, will form part of the amendment that Puerto Rico will submit for the consideration of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Residents of Ponce, Guayanilla, Yauco, Guánica, Mayagüez, Lajas and Peñuelas are invited to participate in one of the coordinated public hearings.
“Citizen participation is a key component for affected communities to contribute to effective disaster recovery, so with the holding of the hearings we hope to see that citizens have taken this opportunity to hear key information about the investment of funds in their homes and their communities,” Deputy Secretary of Disaster Recovery Maretzie Díaz Sánchez said.