SAN JUAN – Governor Pedro Pierluisi and the Secretary of the Department of Housing, William Rodríguez Rodríguez, announced this Sunday the elimination by the federal government of all restrictions to the grant agreement of $ 8.2 billion in CDBG-DR funds with the Department of Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
As part of the amendment to the agreement, the review of a federal financial monitor for the obligation of additional funds is eliminated.
“Without a doubt, this is great news for Puerto Rico. We have a great need to see these funds invested in the recovery of the Island and this amendment by HUD will allow PRDOH to provide resources more immediately and where they need to go. We thank President Joe Biden and HUD for the trust they have placed in our officials at the local level, who are demonstrating their dedication to the responsible management of funds for the reconstruction of Puerto Rico, ”Pierluisi said in a written statement.
Likewise, the Governor highlighted the work of the Secretary of Housing who has led the efforts to get these restrictions removed.
The agreement amendment also includes eliminating incremental grant obligations; and the requirement to request and present any certification, observations and recommendations of the Fiscal Control Board (JCF).
In addition, the completion of a memorandum of agreement with HUD for technical assistance is eliminated; as well as the disbursement checkpoint for 50 percent of the grant through the Disaster Recovery Grant Reporting System (DRGR).
For his part, Secretary Rodríguez Rodríguez stated that “the amendments to the grant agreement demonstrate the confidence of the federal government and HUD in the work we carry out in favor of the reconstruction of Puerto Rico. The flexibilities that this amendment represents will allow us to boost allocation and disbursement efforts to accelerate the recovery that we all want to see in action. “
The official added that “aware of the responsibility that this amendment entails, we reiterate our commitment to the people of Puerto Rico and the federal Government to handle CDBG-DR funds in a more agile and efficient way in order to contribute to the transformation of our Island. We have demanded a level playing field with other jurisdictions and this is a significant step in that direction ”.
In addition, the Housing Minister thanked Governor Pierluisi for his confidence and leadership in this achievement, while highlighting the work of Resident Commissioner Jeniffer González in the search for more federal funds for the Island.
The Department of Housing is the local agency designated as the entity responsible for administering the CDBG-DR funds that will assist in recovery from the disasters caused by Hurricanes Irma and María of 2017; This includes long-term recovery, housing restoration, economic infrastructure, and revitalization.