The San Juan Daily Star
Symposium highlights continuing federal assistance for home acquisition, reconstruction/repair
By The Star Staff
The island Housing Department held the “Buy Your Home with CDBG-DR” symposium Thursday, which featured wide participation from real estate brokers, banking institutions and other members of the real estate industry in Puerto Rico.
“It is our purpose to continue to promote available assistance and make adjustments to programs that help families obtain a home. With this in mind, we summoned the mortgage sector, which is a key piece in the implementation of these types of aid, to talk, present the changes and offer their input,” Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez said in a written statement. “We are happy with the great participation of the industry and we are sure that it will be the first of many openings that we will create to continue improving.”
As part of the agenda, the most recent guidelines for the implementation of the Direct Buyer Assistance Program and the Repair, Reconstruction or Relocation Program (R3) were addressed. In addition, myths and realities, eligibility and relocation processes, as well as the general framework of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds were discussed.
During the event, a panel discussion was also presented by several representatives of unions, who presented their experiences and recommendations after the latest published version of the guidelines that regulate the implementation of CDBG-DR programs in Puerto Rico.
Housing Finance Authority Executive Director Blanca Fernández González said “this symposium gave us the opportunity to personally thank this sector for its collaboration and contribution to the success of the Direct Buyer Assistance Program, whose economic aid has impacted more than 4,000 Puerto Ricans who acquired their new homes in Puerto Rico.”
CDBG-DR funds were allocated to Puerto Rico as an incentive for its recovery from the onslaught of hurricanes Irma and Maria. Both programs provide financial assistance to low-and-moderate-income families impacted by the hurricanes.
Direct Buyer Assistance offers a subsidy of up to $60,000 to cover expenses related to the purchase of a property. Currently, the initiative has allocated $133 million to Puerto Rico families that, thanks to this type of assistance, acquired a safe home. Meanwhile, R3 channels home reconstruction or repair, as well as voluntary relocation to safe housing for eligible participants who applied for program assistance.
The total amount of funds directed to recovery is $1 billion, Rodríguez said.
The morning symposium was held at Vivo Beach Club in Carolina.