Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

San Juan, PR - Mayor Sila M. Calderón

Cantera Peninsula Affordable Housing Project

The Cantera Peninsula Affordable Housing Strategy is a long-term, public-private partnership designed to revitalize one of San Juan's most distressed communities. It is part of a comprehensive development plan that integrates physical, social and economic development and addresses the community's needs through the design and integration of multiple public-private community projects.

The Cantera Peninsula Community and the City of San Juan, in collaboration with various public and private partners, has put together an affordable housing package to finance the construction of 277 new housing units, Casas Pelicanos. This housing construction package, which totals $11 million, includes $1,141,770 in San Juan's CDBG funds, $3 million in San Juan's HOME funds, and a $3.5 million HUD Homeownership Zone grant which is being used for the construction of the housing units, a central plaza and a park. A $2 million grant from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is being used mainly for land acquisition, and a $1.4 million line of credit with COFECC, a private financial corporation, assures the Project's financial security. In addition, both the City and the Commonwealth ceded other land parcels to the community for the Project. Construction of the first phase - 62 housing units - is scheduled to begin mid-1999.

Seventy percent of the Casas Pelicanos homes are reserved for very-low-income families, 20 percent for low-income families and 10 percent for moderate-income families. The Homeownership Zone grant will be used to reduce the home purchase prices on a sliding scale to a level affordable by families who will have annual incomes ranging from $5,800 to $21,520. Because persons with special needs constitute nine percent of Cantera Peninsula's population, ground-floor one-bedroom housing units have been designed in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, and the elderly and other persons with special needs will be given preference in the sale of these units.

The City is currently working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on environmental improvements and flood control activities along the Martin Peña Canal, which borders the Cantera Peninsula. Families living in the sedimentary and flood-prone terrain bordering the Canal need to be relocated and will be given priority in the new area's housing initiatives. The City is using $1,105,150 in CDBG funds to relocate the first 42 families to the community's new houses. Additional CDBG funds will be allocated to the relocation of the remaining 20 families.

Casas Pelicanos is the largest of several affordable housing initiatives in the Cantera Peninsula Community, where a total of 400 new units are under construction. Apoyo Empresarial, a local community housing development organization sponsored in part with the City's HOME funds, is organizing the use of low-income housing tax credits for 100 new housing units and providing tenants with the option to purchase their homes at the end of the initial 15-year period. Habitat for Humanity, also in partnership with the City, is building 13 new row houses for homeownership. San Juan Neighborhood Housing Services, another community housing development organization, is building 14 new homes and is providing full-cycle lending program services to potential home buyers, including pre-purchase and post-purchase counseling and education, and delinquency prevention services for homeowners. These services facilitate homeownership opportunities for families that otherwise might not qualify for conventional mortgages. City officials see CDBG as critical to the success of all of these efforts, as it provides the funds for relocating the families involved.

Contact: Antonio Sosa-Pascual, Advisor to the Mayor in Federal Affairs, (787) 725-4874

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
1620 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006
Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

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