(Thursday March 18, 2021 – Humacao, P.R.) – Today the secretary of the Department of Housing, William Rodríguez Rodríguez, announced that construction will begin for the Manuel Mediavilla Negrón II Home, a new and accessible housing project for the elderly located in Humacao. It is being developed through an allocation of $8.6 million in federal funding from the CDBG-DR Gap to Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC), with a total cost of $25.6 million.
“The CDBG-DR funds provide development opportunities for a diversity of sectors and communities, and today we’ve demonstrated how they are already being directed toward helping our elderly population. As more projects are developed to address the housing needs of low-income and middle-income families, we will be available to assist in providing funding,” said Rodríguez Rodríguez after participating in a cornerstone ceremony.
The project’s design consists of 90 one-bedroom units in a six-floor building that features an administrative office, a community activity area, interior and exterior gardens, a gym, a small cafeteria, a doctor’s office, a terrace, a laundry area, and facilities for storing bicycles.
The project is designed based on the latest energy conservation and resilience measures and includes walls with isolation, photovoltaic systems, low water consumption appliances, Energy Star appliances, ceiling fans, electrical appliances, occupancy sensors in communal areas, solar water heaters, and additional accessibility requirements (ADA).
The Manuel Mediavilla Negrón II Home will also feature broadband infrastructure, as required by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—in order to reduce the digital gap in mixed-income communities.
In addition, the design of each unit will include a high-efficiency wall AC unit, as well as storm-resistant windows, eco-friendly construction materials and methods, and an accessible design and cross ventilation. The landscape design will include native flora that requires minimal irrigation and maintenance.
The Housing Finance Authority (AFV, for its Spanish acronym) is the entity managing the LIHTC Program.
The AFV’s executive director, Blanca Fernández, said that “the start of construction on the Manuel Mediavilla Negrón II Home in Humacao means that the elderly will have a home. This project has been made possible by the CDBG-DR funds. You can count on the AFV to continue pushing Puerto Rico’s recovery forward and to continue creating housing opportunities.”
The project’s development responds to a strategic plan for Humacao and will be located a short distance from places of interest to the elderly. Its residents will be able to walk to carry out their daily activities, such as doctor appointments, pharmacy visits, getting the mail, going to the grocery store, taking public transportation, or visiting recreational areas.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Humacao, Reinaldo Vargas, said that “by laying the cornerstone of what will be the second phase of the Mediavilla project in Humacao, we are offering our elderly population a safe housing option, where they will have access to adequate and modern installations. For our administration, it is of utmost importance to address the housing needs of our citizens, especially for the elderly population. We thank the Department of Housing for addressing this important matter, which we know will be of great help.”
The district senator for Humacao, Rosamar Trujillo Plumey, said that “we are overjoyed to be here in my town, Humacao, for the start of the second phase of the Manuel Mediavilla Home, which will expand the housing options available to our elderly. I congratulate the Department of Housing for promoting projects that have such a large social impact on our citizens. I remember Mr. Marcelo’s enthusiasm when the initial planning began for this project, because it was his priority to improve the quality of life for the elderly.”
Against a backdrop of greater need for rental housing options due to the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria, the LIHTC Program will provide the required incentive to stimulate development and reestablish the current options with new rental housing that is resilient and accessible.