The municipality of Humacao is on the east coast of Puerto Rico. Off Humacao's shore is the Vieques Passage between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. This deep-water passage also separates Puerto Rico from the smaller offshore islands of Vieques and Culebra. Humacao has a population of 55,203 and an area of 45 square miles.
In its Consolidated Plan Humacao describes its housing and community development needs and priorities, as well as a 5-year strategy for addressing these needs. For the first year of the plan, Humacao will receive $2.34 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and a $91,000 Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG). This money will be used to finance the 58 housing, community development, and public service activities planned for Fiscal Year 1995. Humacao also will receive $144,804 in assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development's (HUD's) Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program.
Community participation in the development of the Consolidated Plan began with public meetings held on April 18 and 19, 1995. The meetings were publicized with announcements in the El Vocero newspaper and by telephone calls to persons who had taken part in other public hearings. The first cycle of meetings collected comments on community needs, particularly for infrastructure, recreational facilities, and housing. An informal meeting was also held in the Pasto Viego community center in Rio Abajo; fliers announcing this meeting were distributed by two community leaders and publicized in church and over the community loudspeaker. About 40 persons attended.
There was a 30-day public review and comment period on the proposed plan, and another public hearing was held on May 11. Four persons attended and indicated that they approved of the plan.
The municipality consists of its main urban area, Humacao Pueblo (the town of Humacao), and 12 wards. Primary access to the municipality is by State Highway PR30 from the east and PR3 from the south and east.
The adjusted median family income (MFI) for the municipality of Humacao was $10,176, according to the 1990 Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) Databook. Of the 16,156 households in the municipality, 80 percent have annual incomes of 80 percent or less of MFI. Analysis of census data indicates the following household income levels:
There is a need to maintain and preserve the municipality's existing stock of affordable housing. There also is a need to build new housing at a price affordable to Humacao's lower income families.
Humacao's housing stock totaled 18,342 year-round units, according to the CHAS 1990 Databook. Of these, 16,021 were occupied, 3,524 by renters and 12,491 by owners. Of the 2,321 vacant units, 301 were for rent, and 225 were for sale.
The most complete study of demand for housing in Puerto Rico was done in March 1994 by the firm Estudios Technicos, Inc. For the purpose of analysis, this study made a distinction between two housing markets: the private market and the nonprofit market. Demand was analyzed and divided by income levels. It was inferred that much of the demand is for social interest housing with a value of less than $40,000 per unit. This demand is not being met by private-sector housing construction.
Much of the housing being constructed in Humacao is for higher income families. Of the 69 recorded housing sales that took place in 1993 and early 1994, 35 units were new construction priced between $93,000 and $220,000. Many of these were single-family units, condominiums, and villas in the Palmas del Mar development on the coast in the Candelero Abajo ward.
According to the Estudios Technicos report, the projected demand for social interest housing is 734 units per year. This amounts to 2,202 units over 3 years, valued at $40,000 to $65,000. The practical limits for housing prices for local residents is dependent on their income; about 75 percent of the heads of households in Humacao have incomes of less than $17,500 per year.
A large proportion of lower income households are cost burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their gross income for housing, including utilities. Some are severely cost burdened, paying more than 50 percent of their income for housing expenses.
Of Humacao's 2,957 extremely low-income owner households (0-30 percent of MFI), 32 percent are cost burdened and 18 percent are severely cost burdened. Of the 2,294 very low-income owner households (31-50 percent of MFI), 13 percent are cost burdened, and 5 percent are severely cost burdened. Of the 1,988 owner households in the low-income bracket, 8 percent report cost burden, but only 1 percent are severely cost burdened.
The number of homeless persons in Humacao is estimated to be 150 according to a local government count. There are about 110 persons at risk of homelessness because they are substance abusers, mentally ill, or victims of domestic violence. The estimate is based on the number of persons who receive services though five nonprofit institutions in the Humacao area. It is estimated that about two-thirds of this population have needs related to alcohol or drug abuse.
There is a need for housing for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Since October 1994 the Casa de la Bondad, an agency with the greatest responsibilities for such persons, has served about 80 families.
The public housing authority of the Department of Housing of Puerto Rico (DHPR) has 3 public housing projects with 610 units in the municipality of Humacao. Since 1992 these projects have been administered by Park Management under contract with DHPR.
There are a total of 2,111 assisted housing units in Humacao, including the 610 units of public housing noted above, 409 units of Section 202 housing for the elderly, and 268 units receiving rental assistance through the Section 8 existing housing and moderate-rehabilitation programs. ESGs provide assistance for 50 units and Humacao has 38 HOPWA housing assistance certificates for low-income persons with HIV/AIDS.
The factors placing the greatest limitations on the municipality's efforts to meet the housing needs of low-income residents are geographic in nature. These include:
In 1992 the Public Housing Administration completed a study of lead contamination problems in public housing constructed between 1960 and 1978. In the Padre Rivera Project, testing found lead-based paint on the frames of both interior and exterior doors. In the Jardines de Oriente Project, tests were positive for lead-based paint on railings of balconies. In the Pedro Palou Project, all units sampled tested positive on doors, frames, and shelving.
There are also housing and supportive needs for the elderly, mentally disabled, mentally ill, physically disabled, substance abusers, and victims of domestic violence. The primary need of each group for affordable and accessible housing is similar, but it differs in the mix of appropriate supportive services.
The primary nonhousing community development need is to build new infrastructure. This would include the construction of a drainage channel system in areas susceptible to flooding. Other needs are to improve the existing infrastructure and to construct or repair selected recreational and cultural facilities.
Humacao's six general housing priorities are to:
The primary nonhousing community development priority is to improve the municipality's infrastructure, including:
According to the 1990 census, 56 percent of the families in Humacao live below the poverty level. This is an improvement over previous years and is attributable to persons with higher incomes moving into the municipality, specifically into the Palmas del Mar residential complex.
Humacao's strategy to lower the number of households with below-poverty income levels will emphasize:
The resources to carry out the 5-year plan include $2.57 million in CDBG, HOPWA, and ESG funds to be received this year. It is anticipated that similar levels of HUD support for community development and housing activities will be available to Humacao during the remaining 4 years of the strategic plan. The municipality also plans to utilize, as appropriate and available, assistance from a variety of Federal, Commonwealth, and other sources.
The municipality hopes to receive about $900,000 from Federal transportation funds for a planned "publico" (public car) transportation center in Humacao Pueblo. The municipality has applied for an $8 million Section 108 loan for the acquisition of older buildings for conversion to public facilities. There is an allocation of $1 million in Commonwealth funds for improvements to the Punta Santiago Beach area.
An important element in the successful implementation of the Consolidated Plan will be coordination among agencies at different levels of government, between the municipality of Humacao and agencies of the Commonwealth and Federal Government, and between private-sector nonprofit and for-profit organizations.
One necessary function will be the dissemination of information on Consolidated Plan activities. The mayor, the Department of Planning, and municipality Cabinet officers will meet with municipal departments to inform them of the goals and objectives of the plan. City departments will be assigned responsibilities for activities under the plan.
The municipality will provide guidance for nonprofit organizations on the plan's goals and objectives and obtain commitments of support. Commonwealth and Federal agencies, private-sector groups, and regional consortia will be kept informed of the plan, with the purpose of combining resources and creating cooperative agreements.
For the program year 1995-1996, Humacao plans to use $2 million in CDBG, HOPWA, ESG, and other program income funds for 58 activities to address specific housing, community development, and human services needs.
Allocations from CDBG funds include:
Humacao's ESG of $91,000 is being allotted to five nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless, for administrative and operating expenses. Allocations from $15,000 to $21,000 will go to the Fund for Prevention of Homelessness of Families, the United Evangelical Church, CORDA de Puerto Rico, Hogar Nueva Vida, and Hogar Crea.
HOPWA is providing approximately $144,804 in the form of certificates for 38 housing units for persons with HIV/AIDS.
About 85 percent of the CDBG budget is being assigned to infrastructure improvements. Budgeted activities are planned for many parts of the municipality, but a large portion of the budget is directed at the population center, Humacao Pueblo. The town is also the site of many important projects, including transportation terminals and a new bridge.
The coordination and implementation of the Consolidated Plan will be the responsibility of the municipality of Humacao through its Department of Planning. Although the Department of Planning is the principal responsible unit, the organizational structure of the municipality will serve in supporting the plan.
Housing activities included in this year's action plan are expected to result in improvements to about 45 housing units.
MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).