Puerto Rico Housing Secretary William Rodríguez Rodríguez signed today 11 subrecipient agreements to give selected organizations access to just over $24 million in CDBG-DR funds under the Social Interest Housing program (SIH).
This program's goal is to develop, rehabilitate, build or rebuild buildings to assist with affordable and safe housing for vulnerable communities.
"We are aware of the need for housing on our island, a situation that is aggravated when we speak of vulnerable populations. Through this program, we seek for organizations that have the expertise to receive the necessary help to continue offering their services and thus, those most in need receive the help for which the CDBG-DR funds are intended," Rodríguez said in a missive.
The organizations selected are:
- Lucha Contra El Sida, Inc.
- Psychopedagogical Institute of Puerto Rico
- Hogar de Ayuda El Refugio, Inc.
- Modesto Gotay Foundation
- Hogar Ruth para Mujeres Maltratadas, Inc.
- Casa Protegida Julia de Burgos
- Puerto Rican Organization to Motivate, Enlighten and Serve Addicts, Inc.
- Cristo Pobre Homeless Center
- Ponce Neighborhood Housing Service, Inc.
- Estancia Corazón, Inc.
- Centro María Mazzarello Alepsi, Inc.
The secretary added that "under the Social Interest Housing program, organizations may also carry out cleaning, demolition, removal, reconstruction and rehabilitation of buildings, as well as improvements and modifications aimed at providing accessibility and accommodation for people with disabilities."
The SIH, which has a total allocation of $32.5 million, seeks to provide funds to organizations that are committed to providing affordable housing and to work with diverse populations to ensure accessibility for people facing a wide variety of socio-economic, physical, emotional disabilities, or of any other type.
It also seeks to provide funds to increase the number of existing housing or to put existing housing in decent, safe and sanitary condition; in compliance with building codes, state and local health and safety regulations.
Projects for affordable housing may include the construction or rehabilitation of single-family homes; two-unit structures; multi-unit rental properties; group homes or other properties or homes for people with special needs according to the population served.
Moreover, the SIH program provides assistance to organizations that promote projects dedicated to survivors of gender violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking. For these projects, the safety standards established by the Office of the Women's Ombudsman for projects for survivors of gender-based violence must be followed.
It would also provide assistance for a permanent supportive living bed that is specifically dedicated to be used by chronically homeless individuals and families. This concept applies only to permanent supportive housing projects.
Among the various options allowed by the program is transitional housing. This option requires that the participants have signed a lease or occupancy contract whose purpose is to facilitate the transfer of homeless individuals and families to permanent homes within a period of twenty-four (24) months or a longer period, if Housing deems it necessary.
In the case of permanent housing, the program participant must be the tenant in a lease for a term of at least one year, which can be renewed for a minimum term of one month and can only be terminated for just cause.
The sub-recipient organizations of the program were selected through a Notice of Fund Availability (NOFA). They must also demonstrate that they have the financial capacity to support operations during the program and are expected to have a viable sustainability plan for their operations after they have exhausted CDBG-DR funds.