(San Juan, P.R.) – The Department of Housing (PRDOH) announced that people over the age of 60 and residents of housing for people over the age of 60 who qualify under the Act 173 Program are already able to apply to the Rental Assistance Program to receive financial assistance aimed at guaranteeing safe affordable housing.
The Rental Assistance Program – federally funded by the Community Development Block Grant- Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-DR) – will award up to $400 in rental assistance to eligible applicants for up to 24 months.
“The Rental Assistance Program responds to an urgent need to provide rental assistance to tenants who are over the age of 60 and those with low incomes who are at risk of homelessness as a result of hurricanes Irma and Maria,” said Secretary of Housing Luis Fernández-Trinchet.
The secretary further added that “we are aware that there is a great need and the entirety of the Government of Puerto Rico is working tirelessly to achieve the recovery that this island’s residents need, in this particular case, elderly residents. It is important that we guarantee them a quality of life and a stable transition to a dignified home.”
The Act 173 program in Puerto Rico subsidizes the rent of thousands of low-income, elderly tenants in 49 housing facilities for people over the age of 60 throughout the Island. However, after hurricanes Irma and Maria, they have been left without their income and with no funds to maintain all of their subsidies.
The Rental Assistance Program seeks to secure sufficient funds to continue helping tenants of the Act 173 Program’s housing projects and housing units for people over 60. The goal is to assist over 1,000 tenants of rental units through the program.
During the 24 months the Program will be in effect, the Department of Housing will use exit strategies for at least half of the units currently subsidized under the Act 173 Program in order to offer accessible and permanent homes to their residents.
It was announced that the Department will begin to implement the Rental Assistance Program upon informing the 49 properties under the Act 173 Program of the funds that will be available. Communications will be directed toward current tenants of each of the housing properties and toward their owners.
Fernández-Trinchet explained that the administrative personnel of housing facilities for people over 60 years of age may send all of their tenants’ applications to the PRDOH at www.cdbg-dr.pr.gov once they have obtained the required information and documentation from each applicant in their rental units.
In order for an applicant to be eligible for the CDBG-DR Rental Assistance Program, they must be over the age of 60; must have an income classified as “low income”; and must request a rental unit that would serve as their primary residence.
People must also request a rental unit located at a housing facility for people over 60 that is currently under the Act 173 Program. They are not required to have been beneficiaries of the Act 173 Program in the past in order to apply.
Fernández-Trinchet concluded by pointing out that “we will remain focused on a clear road to recovery and we remain ready to work together – with transparency and collaboration as our guiding principles – so that the communication between the state and federal Government is as efficient as possible. Together, we will make it so that each Puerto Rican family may have and enjoy a safe home.”