PUERTO RICO— In hopes to rebuild a stronger, more resilient Puerto Rico, the Department of Housing (Vivienda) will be administering funds to municipalities for recovery planning through the Municipal Recovery Planning program, or MRP.
These funds have been allocated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under its Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. They are solely available for the island’s 78 municipalities to carry out recovery planning activities; the funds will fuel recovery plans that address conditions created or exacerbated by Hurricanes Irma and María so that Puerto Rico can be ready to face any other such events that may come its way.
Under the MRP program, municipalities will be tasked with identifying projects, programs and policies necessary for recovery, to promote city revitalization, critical infrastructure recovery, economic development, and workforce training.
In our continued effort to help Puerto Rico become a more resilient island, capable of readily bouncing back after disasters, IBTS has been closely monitoring the MRP program since it was announced. Following the hurricanes that devastated the island three years ago, we have been working across the Commonwealth to assist its recovery through our work, including pro bono municipal assessments and resilience planning.
Under the MRP program, municipalities can choose from three options to develop their plans:
- First Option—The Department of Housing assigns a municipality a company to do all the planning and management of the funds. Under this option, the municipality does not choose the team with which it will work, but rather it is assigned one.
- Second Option—The municipality, through a competitive process, chooses the organization that help it carry out recovery planning.
- Third Option—The municipality recruits the necessary internal personnel to carry out the planning.
We recommend option two because it ascertains municipal leaders have the greatest control of the process, the supplier, and the peace of mind knowing its chosen group of experts are working diligently for their municipality to succeed.
Under option two, the municipality selects — through a competitive process — the firm with the best qualifications, which understands how its municipality operates, its culture and idiosyncrasies. In this way, the municipality ensures the final product is tailored to its primary needs — not only for recovery, but also to build resilience. Billing is done through the municipality to the Department of Housing, weekly or monthly; the municipality pays the contracted entity once it receives payment from the Housing Department.
If you combine options two and three, the municipality not only has the opportunity to select an organization that provides recovery planning services, but it can also recruit key internal personnel to work on the mitigation development process in conjunction with that firm.
Conclusively, options two and combinations of two and three give municipalities the most outlook at successful plans.
How We Can Help
Given our extensive resilience-building work on the island and knowing how important the MRP program is for the Commonwealth’s ongoing recovery effort, the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) is offering municipalities the ideal team and staff that can assist them to succeed.
IBTS has enlisted Estudios Técnicos and ATCS to join as one force, an unprecedented trifecta of multidisciplinary experts in recovery planning services, all in one convenient team.
By selecting our 3 in 1 team, you receive complete access to all our services—the perfect recipe for the success of your recovery plan. We have unmatched and accessible experience in managing federal recovery grants and funds.
- IBTS is a non-profit organization dedicated to building resilient communities. We are experts in CDBG-DR compliance and fund management; energy and renewables; disaster recovery; strategic intervention in community-based organizations; resilience planning and strategic communication. Furthermore, IBTS is guided by a board of directors from public sector representing: The Council of State Governments (CSG), the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the National Association of Counties (NACo), the National Governor’s Association (NGA), and the National League of Cities (NLC).
- Estudios Técnicos is the leader in economic consulting, urban and environmental planning, and market strategies in Puerto Rico. It has been working with municipalities, state and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations for more than 35 years in the design, development and implementation of plans and programs. Their expertise extends to municipal, urban, regional and environmental planning; planning for sustainability, climate change and resilience; geographic information systems (GIS); citizen participation and engagement; economic/social development; and feasibility studies. They also have a long track record in resilience planning and implementation of local and federal programs.
- ATCS completes the team with its ample experience in planning and implementation for long-term recovery; transportation planning and engineering; land development and surveying; and public-private partnerships (p3). ATCS is a professional consulting firm dedicated to providing comprehensive, multidisciplinary services with a record of excellence in the area of disaster recovery, including multiple FEMA contracts for flood, hazard and disaster response risk management and services.
We understand that it is the municipalities’ final decision of which option to choose. For those which opt for option two or a combination of two and three, IBTS is ready and willing to participate in the competitive procurement process, following all applicable federal and local laws and regulations.
For more information about our 3×1 recovery planning services, visit us on the web https://www.ibts.org/mrp.
Please contact the IBTS Director for the Puerto Rico Region Mr. Jorge Rodriguez, PE, if you have any questions or for more information, JRodriguez@ibts.org | C: 787-579-5326.