Affordable housing developers are always on the lookout for new opportunities. One place they may not think to look is Puerto Rico. In a statement released earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it has entered into an agreement with the Commonwealth to help improve and implement its housing plan. A signing ceremony was held in San Juan, and attended by Puerto Rico’s Governor and several HUD officials.
As part of the agreement, Puerto Rico has agreed to create a Housing Task force that will conduct a housing needs assessment and develop a plan for meeting those needs. A two-year deadline has been set for Puerto Rico to make adjustments to its internal systems in order to handle the additional HUD funding effectively and properly. Puerto Rico has also committed to developing an open and competitive process for selecting grant recipients.
For its part, HUD has committed to help conduct the needs assessment, help the Commonwealth develop its plan, make improvements to the financial management of its programs, and train relevant people and organizations on how to effectively combine HUD funding with money from other sources in order to meet the Commonwealth’s development goals.
According to the agreement, HUD will use the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the Community Development Block Grant Program as its primary tools for encouraging housing development in the Commonwealth. Both HUD officials and Puerto Rico’s Governor agree that the Commonwealth’s housing plan should focus on people with special needs, the elderly, and people living with HIV/AIDS. This latest HUD partnership opens the door to new development and investment opportunities, especially as the Commonwealth works to streamline its processes. Details of the agreement can be viewed on HUD’s web site.