April 15, 2003
HUD ASSISTANT SECRETARY LIU IMPLEMENTS HISTORIC AGREEMENT TO ENHANCE PUBLIC HOUSING MANAGEMENT IN MANATI, PR
Contract Signing Executes Memorandum of Understanding to Improve Resident
MANATI - HUD Assistant Secretary Michael Liu today participated in the signing of a historic contract that will transfer authority of the Los Murales public housing development to the City of Manati.
Liu joined Manati Mayor Juan Aubin Cruz Manzano and the Administrator of the Puerto Rico Public Housing Administration Carlos Laboy Diaz for the signing at the Los Murales public housing development. With this signing, Manati will assume responsibility for providing resident services and maintenance of the 217 units at this development. This contract will be effective June 1, 2003.
"Both the City of Manati and the PRPHA have cooperated with HUD and committed
hundreds of hours of staff time to make this concept real," said Liu, who
heads HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing. "You have looked to the
future, rather than the past. You have shown your collective commitment to the
welfare of the residents of Manati."
This is the third of four contracts that will be signed by Puerto Rican municipalities to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed February 28, 2003, that transfers authority from the Puerto Rico Public Housing Administration (PRPHA) to those localities. The first contract was signed March 26, 2003 for the Gautier Benitez public housing development in Caguas. The second contract was signed April 7, 2003 for the Felipe Sanchez Osorio and Catanito Gardens public housing developments in Carolina.
Unlike the rest of the United States, where public housing is administered
in part by local governments, in Puerto Rico all public housing was managed
at the Commonwealth level.
On February 28, 2003 in the City of Guaynabo, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez, officials from four Puerto Rican municipalities and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico signed the MOU.
Mayor Cruz Manzano participated in that MOU signing ceremony with Mayors Hector O'Neil of Guaynabo, Willam Miranda Marin of Caguas, and Jose Zayas Cintron of Carolina, who represented, Mayor Jose Aponte de la Torre who was unable to attend the ceremony. Also in attendance was HUD Assistant Secretary Liu.
The MOU implements a two-year pilot program that allows the municipalities to manage five public housing developments with a total of 1,395 units. The developments included are located in the respective municipalities. In addition to Los Murales, the participating public housing developments are: Los Alamos (376 units) in Guaynabo, Felipe Sanchez Osorio and Catanito Gardens (310 units combined) in Carolina, Gautier Benitez (492 units) in Caguas.
Under the MOU, the participating municipalities, which already administer HUD's Section 8 rental assistance program, will manage all operations of these developments on behalf of the PRPHA. They will assume responsibility for modernization, demolition, development and homeownership opportunities for these developments.
The municipalities and the PRPHA will sign individual contracts for the operation of this pilot program. They will assume control from private contractors, who currently manage the developments for the PRPHA. PRPHA will provide the necessary resources - financial and otherwise - to the municipalities to manage the five developments.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities, and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet.