Guaynabo, PUERTO RICO — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently approved about $422 million to restore and renovate 37 residential properties belonging to the Public Housing Administration (PHA) due to damage caused by Hurricane María. These works will benefit over 5,400 families throughout the island.
As part of the agency’s commitment to help Puerto Rico by mitigating future damage from other disasters, the funds include nearly $165.3 million for these measures that seek to strengthen the facilities.
“Funds obligated for these projects will have a direct effect on the families living in these complexes. This is not only about removing asbestos or repairing walls and ceilings to prevent water filtration in these homes; this is also about repairing basketball courts so that children and youths can enjoy themselves. This translates into a sustainable recovery for these communities,” explained the Deputy Federal Coordinator for Disaster Recovery, Andrés García.
The housing complexes are located in 20 municipalities: Aibonito, Aguadilla, Bayamón, Caguas, Camuy, Carolina, Cataño, Cidra, Fajardo, Guaynabo, Isabela, Mayagüez, Naguabo, Patillas, Ponce, Quebradillas, Río Grande, Salinas, San Juan and Trujillo Alto.
Part of the renovations for these housing facilities include cleaning the area and removing asbestos, in an effort to have healthy living spaces. Electrical boxes and exterior lighting will also be replaced to provide common areas that are safe for the entire community. The budget also considers repairs for basketball courts, such as painting the floor and replacing the bird netting, drainage and lighting.
Public Housing Administrator Alejandro Salgado Colón highlighted the impact of these allocations for the short- and long-term reconstruction of communities and Puerto Rico.
“At the Public Housing Administration, we are committed to improving and transforming the infrastructure in the communities of our Island, focused on ensuring that each public housing family has a safe and resilient home to face any present and future atmospheric phenomenon. Hand in hand with FEMA, we are working to guarantee that these budget allocations reached for more than 40 projects run smoothly and in compliance with current regulations, so that damage mitigation and repair work can materialize as soon as possible for the benefit of Puerto Rico,” said Salgado Colón.
One of the housing facilities with recent allocations includes the Nemesio R. Canales public housing complex in San Juan, where over 900 families live. Nemesio R. Canales was assigned over $49 million to repair its 65-building structure, which includes the administration building and a basketball court. The mitigation measures for this complex are estimated at nearly $14.2 million and will focus on the roof, to prevent damage from wind and rain filtration.
To the south and to benefit nearly 500 families, the Arístides Chavier public housing complex in Ponce also stands out for the renovations to its administrative building and 49 residential buildings. Of the $22.5 million the facilities have available for renovation, over $10 million are earmarked for mitigation measures to improve the drainage and roof sealing systems.
The funds to renovate these facilities are part of the agency’s recovery budget under FEMA’s Accelerated Award Strategy, known as FAASt. To date, over $446.3 million have been approved for 48 subprojects.
FEMA has allocated nearly $29.2 billion in Public Assistance program funds to more than 10,400 projects that will contribute to rebuilding Puerto Rico so it can become more resilient to future disasters.
For more information about Puerto Rico’s recovery from Hurricane María, visit fema.gov/disaster/4339 and recovery.pr. Follow us on social media at Facebook.com/FEMAPuertoRico, Facebook.com/COR3pr and Twitter @COR3pr.