HUD Seminar for Mayors in San Juan
From left: Ruben Rios Pagan, Puerto Rico Secretary of Housing; Maurice Jones, HUD Deputy Secretary; Alejandro Garcia Padilla, Puerto Rico Governor, signing the technical assistance memorandum of agreement between HUD and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
The 2013 HUD Seminar for Mayors took place in San Juan on April 23, 2013. Around 220 representatives from the islands' 78 municipalities (including about 40 mayors), state housing agencies, and other stakeholders participated in this event, making it one of the most successful ever.
The San Juan HUD office organizes and holds this event every four years, following the island's elections, to acquaint new and continuing mayors alike of HUD programs and initiatives, as well as provide a dynamic setting for interaction between elected officials, their staff, and HUD directors, and in this instance, our Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones.
Directors from all HUD programs of multifamily housing, single family, community development, public housing, fair housing and the office of Counsel each present on their respective services and roles, touching upon the most popular and flexible programs such as Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Section 8, FHA insurance, fair housing issues, and conflicts of interest. There was plenty of dialogue and interest in these topics this year, prompting several attendees to present the HUD staff and Deputy Secretary Jones with questions and concerns including how sequestration will affect the municipalities and constituents.
The governor of Puerto Rico, the Honorable Alejandro Garcia Padilla, visited at mid-day. The Governor highlighted the importance of HUD programs in the island as part of the wellbeing of the residents of Puerto Rico. He thanked Deputy Secretary Jones for his commitment and support as evidenced by the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), which reestablishes the provision of technical assistance between HUD and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico for several programs including HOME, Homeless Assistance, CDBG, HOPWA, and public housing, as well as funding from other public and private resources. This MOA replaces a previous one signed in 2010, and serves as a symbol of the successful partnerships between HUD Leadership and the Government of Puerto Rico, working together to improve the state of housing and support services for the residents of the island.