SAN JUAN – The candidate for mayor of San Juan for the New Progressive Party (PNP), Miguel Romero, presented on Saturday his proposal “San Juan against COVID-19” to manage the effects of the pandemic on the daily lives of San Juan people. Romero pointed to the most adequate and effective use of federal funds that have been assigned to the municipality of San Juan and focus them on attending and minimizing the impact of the pandemic on families.
“The pandemic is not only a risk to the health and life of human beings, the COVID has disrupted family chores, it has submerged us in levels of personal and family anxiety due to the challenges it imposes. There is concern for jobs, for preserving our homes and for the result that this whole situation is having on the education of our children and the possible academic lag. My vision is that we can manage in a sensitive way from the point of view of the needs of our families, ”said Romero.
As part of his pandemic management plan, for the senator from San Juan, the area of housing and economic development will be a priority, where he indicated that economic resources provided by the federal government will be allocated to attend the COVID-19 pandemic. “All sectors of the population will be served through funds that are available to the City of San Juan. For the homeless, I will assign resources from the “Emergency Solutions Grant Program” so that they have adequate shelter facilities that allow their immediate protection and that in cases where people need support for a health condition, their rehabilitation can be achieved ” , said the candidate for the municipal seat.
He also asserted that, “different from what happened and continues to happen in San Juan, we will not abandon our responsibility and we will use every local, state and federal resource to benefit everyone who lives in our City. Tracking is one of the most accurate tools to be able to stop what we are experiencing. It is imperative that it be done expeditiously and efficiently; It is about collaborating, sharing resources, integrating ourselves into the monitoring of cases carried out by the Health Department. Certainly, the collaborative model is the one that has worked best in other cities and we must replicate it adapted to our reality ”.
For families who are renting and who have economic difficulties as a result of the effects of the pandemic, Romero assured that there are mechanisms to provide assistance in the short and medium term to address the arrears of rent and utilities. “This will allow families to stay in their homes while their economic situation stabilizes,” said Romero.
Resources from the Ryan White and HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS) programs will be allocated to the population of vulnerable people with HIV or AIDS so that they can purchase medicines, receive support services, pay for their rental housing and in the case of homeowners can pay their mortgage. “These are funds that are currently available for these initiatives and it seems to me that they can help mitigate the effects of the pandemic on a population that is already vulnerable and deserves our full support,” Romero said.
On the issue of economic development, Romero stressed that the small businesses in San Juan are abandoned and without any incentives. “They will also be taken care of by my administration. We will develop an economic incentive program that will be financed with CDBG-COVID funds so that they can be used in any eligible expenses of their businesses, thus allowing the retention of jobs and the economic recovery of San Juan, ”said Romero, who, in addition, stated that there is over $ 4 million in federal funds that can be used for financial incentives for small businesses and have not been used.
Romero also emphasized making permits more flexible in areas where sidewalks or public spaces allow it to support commerce and businesses in the gastronomic industry; He presented as an example “San Juan al aire libre”, a concept developed by merchants from Old San Juan so that, in a planned and organized way, the pedestrian use of the historic area is promoted as a mechanism to support local commerce.
Romero also promised to emphasize the digitization of municipal services to make it easier for citizens to interact with the Municipality and receive services. “The reality is that technology allows us to facilitate and bring citizens closer to their municipal government and maintain habits of social distancing. The use of applications and technological mechanisms make it easier for citizens to plan, request and receive a range of municipal services. I will emphasize that added value that technology gives us so that we can be effective ”, said Romero.
He also indicated that he will seek the creation of educational modules for students of the municipal education system in such a way that possible academic lags are addressed and that the modules are also available free of charge for students of the public schools of the Department of Education. The also president of the PNP in San Juan, highlighted the importance of access to information for citizens and promised to promote that more areas of the Capital provide free access to WI-FI.
He mentioned that the CDBG-DR funds and the funds from the FEMA Public Assistance program will be the vehicle of economic recovery and will be used in the infrastructure and public facilities recovery strategy that will benefit all the communities of the City regardless of their economic level. “Simultaneously, the investment of these federal resources will have an effect on the patents and taxes of the Municipality, positively impacting municipal finances, this being the starting point for the elimination of the deficit of our Capital City and our economic rebirth,” he added.