If you really want to help the community, Section 3 is your tool
HUDâ€™s Section 3 program requires that entities receiving federal funds make their best effort to train and hire low-income residents and contractors of the area where the funds are being used. Following this mandate, in June the HUD San Juan Filed Office partnered with the Puerto Rico Department of Housing, the PR Builders Association, and the PR Association of General Contractors for a Section 3 HUD Economic Summit held at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.
The highlights of the day were provided by testimonials from former residents who became self-sufficient, and business from the area who help and hire residents. Lorett Caro grew up in Residencial Rafael MartÃnez Nadal in Guaynabo. After graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, worked at Residencial Las Gardenias, in BayamÃ³n. With effort and dedication Caro became a homeowner. Now as Economic Self-Reliance Coordinator for Residencial La Rosaleda, in Guaynabo, Lorett continues helping others.
JesÃºs Rosado was born in BayamÃ³n. His first job was washing cars. As a teenager during the summers he worked in youth programs for the residents of Vega Alta to save money for school items. He became a recreational leader. After graduating from American University of Puerto Rico, he continued helping low-income residents; leads services for tenants at Brisas del Campo in ManatÃ, and is in the process of buying a home.
With an attendance of over 300 people, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo RosellÃ³ Nevares was the keynote speaker. Christopher Taylor, HUD's Field Policy and Management Supervisory Field Operations Manager showcased the benefits of the technological tools available for both business and residents to learn about opportunities via Business Registry and the Opportunity Portal. Wanda Nieves and Tzeitel Andino -Caballero, from HUD's Fair Housing team talked about Section 3 Program Overview and Compliance. Staff from the Puerto Rico Department of Housing communicated their strategies to meet the requirement and detailed their procurement process.
Business leaders also shared how Section 3 benefitted both their companies and helped the residents to achieve self-sufficiency their experiences. Alfonso ValdÃ©s, President of Cost Control Company, Inc. shared his experience of 20 years working in projects funded by HUD. His company provides administrative services to housing developments around the island. ValdÃ©s currently employs 600 employees; 56 percent of them meet the Section 3 requirements.
For more than 40 years Caribe Tecno has built and rehabilitated housing. In the mid-seventies San Juan selected to renew projects in the Buenos Aires and Las Corozas neighborhoods of the municipality. Since then the company has been aware of HUD's Section 3 initiatives. Its President, JosÃ© Domingo PÃ©rez MuÃ±iz has reiterated Caribe Tecno's commitment to help workers in low-income communities.
The interest about how Section 3 works is growing as more business learn how to properly use federal funds to comply with the program, given the significant funding HUD has allocated to Puerto Rico to help with its recovery after Hurricane MarÃa. Experts in workforce development from the U.S. Small Business Administration, PathSthone Corporation, and the Ramey Job Corps highlighted their programs in a very interactive session.