May 30, 2003
HUD ASSISTANT SECRETARY LIU IMPLEMENTS HISTORIC AGREEMENT TO ENHANCE PUBLIC HOUSING MANAGEMENT IN GUAYNABO
Contract Signing Executes Memorandum of Understanding to Improve Resident
GUAYNABO - HUD Assistant Secretary Michael Liu today participated in the signing of a historic contract that will transfer authority of the El Alamo public housing development to the City of Guaynabo.
Liu joined Guaynabo Mayor Hector O'Neil and Carlos Laboy-Diaz, Administrator of the Puerto Rico Public Housing Administration, for the signing at the Guaynabo City Hall. With this signing, Guaynabo will assume responsibility for providing resident services and maintenance of the 376 public housing units at this development. This contract will be effective July 1, 2003.
"When HUD announced early this year the transfer of authority of more
than a thousand public housing units from the Puerto Rico Public Housing Administration
to Caguas, Carolina, Manati, and Guaynabo, it was only a concept," said
Liu, who heads HUD's Office of Public and Indian Housing. "With the signing
of this final contract with the City of Guaynabo, the concept is now a reality
that each municipality and the PRPHA can be proud of."
This is the last of four contracts that were signed this year by Puerto Rican municipalities to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed February 28, 2003, that transferred authority from PRPHA to those localities. The first contract was signed March 26th for the Gautier Benitez public housing development in Caguas. The second contract was signed April 7th for the Felipe Sanchez Osorio and Catañito Gardens public housing developments in Carolina. The third was signed April 27th for the Los Murales public housing development in Manati.
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, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez, officials from the four Puerto Rican municipalities and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico signed the MOU.
Mayor Hector O'Neil participated in that MOU signing ceremony with Mayors Cruz Manzano of Manati, William 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 El Alamo, the participating public housing developments are: Los Murales (217 units) in Manati, Felipe Sanchez Osorio and Catañito 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 assumed responsibility for modernization, demolition, development and homeownership opportunities for these developments.
The municipalities and the PRPHA signed individual contracts for the operation of this pilot program. On the contract effective dates, they assumed 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.