Ponce, the second largest city in Puerto Rico is located on the southern tip of the island. Just 70 miles from San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, it can be reached by land, air and sea. Its strategic location has made Ponce the gateway not only to other towns in the southern region but to those in the northern and western regions as well.
Ponce's economy is mostly based on manufacturing, retail, and tourism. Map showing points of interest is included.
The Consolidated Plan of the Municipality of Ponce comprises three programs; Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program and Emergency Shelter Grants. The plan includes a one-year Action Plan with funds amounting to $10,066,000.00 earmarked mainly for housing, community development projects, activities and services to the homeless.
The Municipal Assembly of the Municipality of Ponce authorized the mayor to
be the official representative of the municipality to prepare and submit the
Consolidated Plan to the Department of Housing & Urban Development, execute
the contract and expend the funds allocated to the municipality. The mayor
bestowed the responsibility of administrating the CDBG, HOME and Emergency
Shelter programs to the Municipal Department of Economic and Community
Development. Personnel from this Department implemented the citizen
participation plan through the coordination of various activities which allowed
maximum participation of citizens, private and public agencies and institutions.
Two public hearings were held which were previously advertised in newspapers of
wide circulation in Puerto Rico. Meetings were held with representatives of
institutions, private and public agencies and developers to further expand
citizens' participation. Spanish and English versions of the Consolidated Plan
drafts were made available for public review and comments.
The Municipality of Ponce was the first in Puerto Rico to become autonomous
as per the Autonomous Municipalities Act of August 30, 1991. According to the
1990 census, the population of the Municipality of Ponce was 187,749 down from
189,046 in 1980. There are 46 census tracts in Ponce of which 34 qualify as
having concentration areas of very low and low income families. Of the total of
34,711 families residing on these tracts, 15,149 or 43.64% have income below the
30% of median income. The population is Hispanic. Map showing outline of
low-mod areas is included.
The infrastructure in Ponce historic zone and other urban and rural areas is in need of replacement. There are several deteriorated buildings including houses in need of rehabilitation for their conversion into housing, commercial or other useful purposes. Unemployment rate for Ponce Statistical Metropolitan Area in 1994 was 17.7 per cent down from 20.9 per cent the previous year. Map showing unemployment areas is included.
The effective demand projected for housing for the period 1994-98 was found to be for units for low and moderate income families. There is a waiting list of 423 in the Section 8 program. The need for housing rehabilitation of deteriorated and substandard housing was also identified. The 1990 census indicates that of the 54,191 occupied housing units 44 were in ruins, 4,720 deteriorated and 2,935 had construction problems. There were also 141 units located in areas susceptible to flooding and 1,623 in areas susceptible to sliding.
A study conducted for the Puerto Rico Bankers Association demonstrated that the effective demand for housing was found to be for units less than $40,000.00, however this is considered and out of market demand as it is not profitable for the developers. Housing cost in Ponce exceeds the $85,000.00 per unit.
The 1990 census indicates that there were 60,212 housing units in Ponce of which 54,191 were occupied and 6,021 were vacant. Of those occupied 36,949 were occupied by owners while 17,242 were rented.
Single family housing actually being built in Ponce is beyond the price range of low income households. First time home buyers are in need of a subsidy for down payment which will contribute to lower their monthly mortgage. Households with income below the 30 Median Family Income have the greatest cost burden.
There are 8 institutions providing a variety of services to the homeless of which two are receiving assistance under the Emergency Shelter Program. A total of 145 homeless are receiving services under the Emergency Shelter Program. No official census of homeless has been conducted in Ponce. The majority of the homeless served are adult males and elderlies. There is the need for transitional housing and housing for people with AIDS.
There are 5,248 public housing units in Ponce currently administrated by private enterprises. Comprehensive grants exceeding $30 million dollars were earmarked for restoration and/or modernizing three housing projects. Asbestos material was found in 272 units. Thirty seven thousand per unit was designated to resolve this problem.
The Municipality of Ponce administrates Section 8 Voucher/Certificate Program. At present there are 1,443 housing units assisted under this program. The Section 8 Program has a waiting list of 423 of which 38 have a preference for Section 8 openings.
Additional needs were identified through the citizen participation activities:
High construction cost and land acquisition in Ponce have become barriers to affordable housing. State and local regulations pertaining to construction and/or rehabilitation in the historic zone contribute to the high cost and lack of availability of affordable housing in that particular area. The Municipality of Ponce has established a single point of contact to expedite permits and provide technical assistance to general public and developers.
Orientation about rules and regulations is provided to both landlords and tenants of the Section 8 Program. Fair housing complaint procedures are explained to the program participants and technical assistance in filing a complaint is offered if needed. There are no current complaints outstanding, no court orders or HUD imposed sanctions.
A study conducted on 11 public housing projects demonstrated that 7 of them contained lead- base paint. Residents were relocated while the problem was being resolved through the modernization program. No lead-base paint cases have been encountered in the Section 8 Program by housing rehabilitation inspectors of the municipality of Ponce.
Improvement to infrastructure is needed such as construction and reconstruction of streets both in the urban and rural areas, improvement and construction of sewer and water distribution systems, parking , and recreational facilities. Expansion of the public service program geared to provide health, social, education, training and counseling services to low and very low income families is also needed.
Coordination for the provision of services and referral of cases has been
established with the State Departments of Education, Health, Public Housing and
Social Services. Thirteen nonprofit organizations participate actively in the
CDBG public service program by providing a variety of services to 10,075 low and
very low income families, elderlies, children, homeless and handicapped.
Cooperative agreements are executed with other federal agencies for the
development of community development projects among them Federal Transit
Administration, Economic Development Administration, Department of Justice.
The overall goals of the municipality of Ponce are to increase the affordable housing stock for low and moderate income families, reduce the high rate of unemployment through the development of economic development projects/activities.
Housing problems in Ponce are mainly lack of affordable housing and aging housing stock. The development of strategies and activities to alleviate these problems is a top priority of the municipality of Ponce. Housing objectives are the rehabilitation of housing and supply of affordable housing to low income families. Community development objectives are to improve infrastructure, provide economic development opportunities for low and moderate income citizens and provide passive recreational facilities city wide.
Housing priorities will be the provision of grants to low income families for their housing rehabilitation, down payment assistance to first time home buyers who are low income and rehabilitation of San Antón Ward a blight area in Ponce.
The non-housing priorities will be the construction and reconstruction of streets, improvement to sewer and water distribution systems, construction of recreational facilities, expand the CDBG public service program, and promotion and development of economic development programs.
The Municipality of Ponce will continue administrating its family self sufficiency program. Referrals will be made to both the municipal and state J.T.P.A. programs. Low income families, the elderlies, homeless, youths, people with AIDS and others in need of social, health and educational services will be encouraged to participate in the public service program financed in part with CDBG and participating nonprofit organizations.
There are 13 nonprofit organizations which provide services to the community under the public service and emergency shelter programs. Coordination for the provision of services has also been established with the state departments of Social Services, Education, Health Public Housing and Police. Local lending institutions and developers are actively involved in the coordination of housing development.
The Department of Economic and Community Development of the Municipality of
Ponce is responsible for the Consolidated Plan activities. Personnel from the
Department's divisions such as Housing, Community Development, Public Service,
Emergency Shelter Program, Engineering and Monitoring, coordinate, supervise and
monitor the activities. Nonprofit organizations actively participate in the
administration of the public service and homeless programs. The monitoring unit
of the Department has the responsibility for the monitoring of the program. A
private CPA firm prepares single audits annually including the programs in the
The Municipality of Ponce's Consolidated Plan includes $10,066,000 for theCDBG, HOME and Emergency Shelter Programs. The funds will be utilized for housing, community development and services to the homeless as follows:
Most of the projects are located in low income areas such as San Antón and La Playa Wards. Public Services programs are located city wide in low income areas. Projects location maps are included.
The Municipality of Ponce will be the lead agency for the implementation of the Consolidated Plan. Nonprofit organizations will administrate the public service programs, one nonprofit institution will administrate one of the homeless shelters, the other is a municipal one.
The Municipality of Ponce housing goals for the first year will be: increase the affordable housing stock through rehabilitation of 145 units at an estimated cost of $932,719; provide assistance to 37 first time home buyers for a total of $800,000; provide services to 40 families under the self sufficiency program; provide shelter to 40 homeless elderlies.
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest and unemployment levels.
MAP 4 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).
Ramón Torres Morales
Executive Director Department of Economic and Community Development
Municipality of Ponce, P.R.
(809) 840-9200, extensions 222, 223