Resident Commissioner announces approval $42.6 million in federal funds

By John McPhaul

Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González Colón announced on Monday the approval of several items of federal funds totaling $42.6 million for education, energy, debris removal, housing, domestic violence programs and to mitigate the emergency of the COVID-19, among other issues.

The allocations come from the Federal Department of Energy, the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Department of Housing (HUD), the federal Department of Justice, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation, for the federal Department of Education; and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Federal Education allocated $7.1 million to various educational institutions as part of FY2020 grants from the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program; Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) .

Within this program, the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico Metropolitan Campus will receive $599,955; the School of Plastic Arts and Design of Puerto Rico will receive $599,963; the Polytechnic University will receive $599,987; the University College of San Juan will receive $600,000; Atlantic University College will receive $600,000; the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla campus, will receive $599,952; American University of Puerto Rico will receive $599,933; the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus will receive $600,000; the University of Puerto Rico Cayey Campus will receive $600,000; the University of Puerto Rico Carolina Campus will receive $600,000 and the University of Puerto Rico Aguadilla Campus will receive $518,890.

On the other hand, the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) under the program to reduce domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and harassment on campus allocated $299,962 to the University of the Sacred Heart.

The program offers a unique opportunity for higher education institutions to establish multidisciplinary approaches including activities to combat sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and bullying on campus.

In addition, Taller Salud will receive $225,000 to improve services for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and a stalking program.

The Puerto Rico Public Housing Administration will receive $475,728 from the federal Department of Housing (HUD) for the Housing Choice Voucher program, known as Section 8.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) allocated $150,000 to the Ocean Foundation to search for and collect lost fishing items and garbage abandoned in southeastern Puerto Rico and marine reserve areas.

The University Center of the University of Puerto Rico will receive $116,667 from the Economic Development Administration to fund the final year of a five-year University Center Economic Development Program at the University of Puerto Rico.

This program provides technical assistance and research and development tools to increase productivity, stimulate innovation, and promote entrepreneurship to help increase long-term regional competitiveness and economic diversification.

The EDA University Center program is a partnership based on competitiveness between EDA and academic institutions that makes various university resources available to the professional community for economic development.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) allocated $3.2 million to the University of Puerto Rico for the Louis Stokes STEM Pathways and Research Alliance program: Puerto Rico-LSAMP - Expanding Opportunities for Underrepresented College Students (2020-2025) under the direction of the President of the University, Jorge Haddock.

This program is intended to attract, recruit, and retain students in the STEM field for undergraduate and graduate studies. The alliance is made up of the Puerto Rico University System: two graduate campuses: Río Piedras and Mayagüez and six 4-year campuses: Aguadilla, Arecibo, Bayamón, Cayey, Humacao and Ponce; the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico; and the Ana G. Méndez University System : Metropolitan University, University of the East and University of Turabo.

In addition, the Federal Department of Energy allocated $4 million to the Ana G. Méndez University System for a resilient energy system.

The federal Department of Commerce allocated $578,755 to Puerto Rico Manufacturing Extension, Inc. (PRiMEX), to help manufacturers on the island put themselves in a position to develop new products and customers, expand into global markets, adopt new technologies, among other services.

The resident commissioner announced that the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded a total of $414,088 through the project-based rent assistance program Moderate Rehabilitation (Mod Rehab) under the federal economic stimulus law to manage the coronavirus emergency, (CARES Act), for public housing agencies on the island (PHAs) that provide housing assistance to low-income residents.

From these funds, the municipality of San Juan will receive $249,375; Ponce, $21,590; Bayamón, $18,470; Trujillo Alto, $6,579; Arroyo, $52,400 and the Puerto Rico Housing Finance Corporation, $65,674.

Other recently approved and announced funds include $26 million for improvements to the island’s airport infrastructure by the federal Department of Transportation (DOT) through the Federal Aviation Administration.

“As a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the federal House of Representatives, it is a priority for me that Puerto Rico have the necessary resources. We have already secured a federal investment of $89 million for Puerto Rico’s airports, which is essential to expand our passenger and cargo offer, ” said the resident commissioner.

As of September 2, 2020, ten airports on the Island have received $89.9 million in federal funds; $51.7 million under the CARES Act and $38.2 million in recurring funds.

Puerto Rico has received close to $10.3 billion in federal funds to meet the challenges of the pandemic. The resident commissioner has advocated and managed federal funds and resources to mitigate the effect of the coronavirus in the different industries and sectors on the Island, and also in the communities. These funds do not include those awarded under temporary unemployment benefit programs.

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