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Frequently Asked Questions About the WCRP Program

This page contains questions and answers on different topics related to the WCRP Program. To see the answer to a question, you may click on it or the “+” sign next to the question. If your question is not answered below, send us an e-mail at wcrp@foundationpr.org with your question.

General

The term “Action Plan” refers to the Puerto Rico Disaster Recovery Action Plan, as it may be amended, that outlines the use of CDBG-DR funds allocated in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The Action Plan can be found at the Puerto Rico Department of Housing’s website: cdbg-dr.pr.gov.

CDBG-DR refers to the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds, which are additional funds appropriated by the United States Congress to rebuild areas affected by the hurricanes and to provide crucial seed money to start the recovery process.

From the first allocation of CDBG-DR funds assigned to the WCRP Program, approximately $33.7 million will be directed towards the development of Community Resilience Plans and related eligible activities. The Program, through the Puerto Rico Department of Housing (PRDOH), will publish a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) so that applicants who will become subrecipients work directly with communities in Puerto Rico develop the Community Resilience Plans. The remaining balance, approximately $3.8 million, are assigned to FPR through a Subrecipient Agreement and will be distributed based on reimbursements.  All subrecipients, including FPR, must incur in eligible costs and submit them to PRDOH for reimbursement consideration as evidenced by supporting documentation.

In general terms, a subrecipient is usually an entity, but not limited to non-Federal entities, that receives a subaward from a pass-through entity to distribute part of the award; but does not include an individual that is a beneficiary of such award. A subrecipient may also be a recipient of other federal awards directly from a federal awarding agency. For purposes of the WCRP Program, a subrecipient is an entity with whom PRDOH has executed a Subrecipient Agreement, or SRA, and will receive CDBG-DR funds to undertake CDBG-DR eligible activities for the WCRP Program. The SRA is the agreement between PRDOH and a WCRP Program Subrecipient that governs the relationship between both parties as well as subrecipient funding and activities.

FPR will work as a partner and in coordination with PRDOH for the design, development, and execution of the WCRP Program. FPR will lead in the development of resilience tools and will also implement community outreach and educational strategies for communities and subrecipients. FPR will also contribute in the design and development of Planning Framework, Planning Milestones and the Community Resilience Plan Template. PRDOH, in collaboration with FPR, will make this technical assistance available to communities and subrecipients in support of the implementation of these documents in their planning processes to complete the Community Resilience Plans. The technical assistance for subrecipients will focus in support of the development of Community Resilience Plans.

WCRP

The Whole Community Resilience Planning (WCRP) Program is an initiative of the Puerto Rico Department of Housing, financed with CDBG-DR funds allocated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This Program aims to foster recovery planning impulse from and with the community and to develop resilience tools that support these efforts. The Program seeks to provide the resources for the development of comprehensive community resilience plans, whose benefits will allow communities to develop policies, plans, and administrative and management capacities to see to their needs.

The WCRP Program exists to respond to current and future community needs in federally declared Disaster Impact Areas caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria – an area that encompasses all of Puerto Rico. The Program aims to foster a recovery process that protects life and property from future threats while building residents’ capacity to steward the revitalization and well-being of their communities. This process and approach are of great importance in the recovery and rebuilding of vulnerable communities throughout the archipelago.

The WCRP Program pursues the active and direct participation of communities in the development of Community Resilience Plans (CRPs). The Program will also provide community resilience tools to support long-term recovery planning processes. The Program aims to foster the development of community-driven, recovery planning processes that result in CRPs for engaged communities. It also aims to develop resilience tools that further enhance resilience efforts. Through the planning and tool-building process, communities will collaboratively and effectively determine their unique needs, set long-term and short-term objectives, and identify high priority action items.

A Community Resilience Plan or CRP refers to a comprehensive plan developed by the community and a subrecipient to guide the implementation of short, medium, and long term recovery strategies and actions to enhance their community’s resilience. These strategies and actions may include, but are not limited to, policies, programs, and projects, and may include or require the participation of one or more entities that can facilitate implementation, such as a municipality or Puerto Rico Government agencies. In cases where they are requested, there will also be planning services providers.

The WCRP goals and outcomes can be summarized as follows:

  • Engagement in community-driven, recovery planning processes towards recovery, promoted by communities, by means of the development of Community Resilience Plans (CRPs); and
  • Development of Resilience Tools to support communities in furthering resilience-building efforts, such as the Social Capital Maps, the Interactive Risk and Vulnerability Maps and a Community Webpage.

Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)

The WCRP Program’s Notice of Funding Availability or NOFA is a public document that formally announces a funding opportunity for the Program’s eligible planning activities and describes the parameters for applying to the Program and the award of these funds. This document will be publicly available in the Puerto Rico Department of Housing’s CDBG-DR website.

Eligible Applicants can partner with one or more communities to submit applications. Eligible Applicants must be legally incorporated organizations with one of the following status: 

  • Not-for-profit organizations which are tax-exempt organizations under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501 (26 U.S.C. § 501 (a), (c)(3), or (c)(6);
  • Tax-exempt status under section 1101.01 of the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code of 2011, as amended;  
  • Community Based Development Organizations as defined by 24 CFR § 570.204; or
  • Municipal Governments of Puerto Rico applying on behalf of one or more communities that lay all or partially within their jurisdictional boundaries.

High risk communities are defined as groups of people that share a common vulnerability, whether physical, economic, social, cultural, or environmental. These vulnerable social units are often disproportionately affected by disruptions and disasters. A few examples include:

  • Communities with a low socioeconomic level; high concentrations of poverty, lack of basic infrastructure, unacceptable environmental conditions, poor housing status, and high social stressors
  • Communities that are situated in the floodway or floodplain, landslide areas and other natural hazards
  • Communities that share a special need or disability

The NOFA will be publicly available in the Puerto Rico Department of Housing’s CDBG-DR Program website: https://cdbg-dr.pr.gov/ and an application may be submitted following the instructions provided on the webpage.

To access and submit an application, Eligible Applicants are required to visit the PRODH’s CDBG-DR-2017 Program website: https://cdbg-dr.pr.gov/ and complete the online application following to the instructions contained therein.

An Endorsement Letter is a document that reflects an affirmative act, on behalf of community leaders or bona fide residents, where they express they are in favor of an applicant for the development of.

Before signing a contract with the WCRP Program, Applicants must provide a Preliminary Community Endorsement Letter. The Endorsement Letter demonstrates the community’s desire to work with the Applicant in the WCRP Program. The purpose of the letter is to show the Puerto Rico Department of Housing that the Applicant has a relationship with the community and that the community wishes to work with the Applicant to develop a Community Resilience Plan.

As part of the NOFA process, potential applicants and community representatives are encouraged to attend one of the scheduled Pre-Application Conferences hosted by PRDOH. During the Pre-Application Conference, participants will gain a better understanding of the WCRP Program, the community resilience planning process, and have an opportunity to ask questions related to funding and budgets. The schedule for the Pre-Application Conference will be presented in the NOFA. Dates, times, and activities are subject to change. Therefore, potential applicants and community representatives are encouraged to periodically review the CDBG-DR website for regular updates.

How will my application be reviewed? – To see how applications will be evaluated and who will be responsible for it, see the NOFA in the following link: https://cdbg-dr.pr.gov/en/funding-opportunities/ 

Eligible selected applicants will receive an initial award of up to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($200,000) per community they work with. Each applicant may apply for funds to work with multiple communities, as limited by their organizational and fiscal capacity. Additional funding may be approved to cover specialty studies or planning services per community to be provided by a vendor. There is no minimum award, however, the maximum award amount will not exceed five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000), including the initial award plus any additional funding approved for specialty studies or planning services.

To see what activities are eligible for the WCRP Program, see the NOFA in the following link: https://cdbg-dr.pr.gov/en/funding-opportunities/

The WCRP Program pursues the active and direct participation of communities in the development of their own Community Resilience Plans (CRPs). The Program will also provide community resilience tools to support long-term recovery planning processes. A CRP refers to a comprehensive plan developed with the community and the assistance of subrecipients that will guide the implementation of short, medium, and long term recovery strategies and actions to enhance resilience. These strategies and actions may include, but are not limited to, policies, programs, and projects, and may include or require the participation of one or more entities that can facilitate implementation, such as a municipality.

Funding available through the WCRP Program cannot be used for implementation of final plans. However, the Community Resilience Plans that will include activities and strategies identified in the community planning process as well as possible funding mechanisms for future implementation.

To learn more about said processes, please refer to the WCRP Program Guidelines using the following link: https://cdbg-dr.pr.gov/en/funding-opportunities/

Resilience Tools

The Program has the following main tools: Social Capital Maps, Interactive and Vulnerability Risk Maps, a Community Resilience Webpage. As part of the development of community support tools that foster the development of resilience projects, FPR receives input from expert and leaders in community planning, data analysis, and outreach in all six focus areas.

The Social Capital Maps tool includes information on existing assets and resources that may support or assist in community plan development, as the user will be able to identify such assets and resources close by or that address issues of interest or concern to the community.  Among the information included in the SCM tool, one can find facilities that provide health or medical services, educational institutions (such as Head Start centers and public schools), security and safety resources (police and fire stations, courthouses, and emergency shelters), non-profit organizations, Special Communities, community aqueducts, and municipal services and information, among others.  The information included in the tool will enable communities in informed decisions regarding social capital assets and resources, including creation of strategic partnerships with key stakeholders and areas of opportunities and collaboration within their planning process. You can access the SCM at www.foundationpr.org/WCRP

The Vulnerability and Risk Maps tool presents a variety of thematic maps that promote knowledge or understanding of current conditions or variables, also known as indicators, within six core areas: economic development, education, environment, infrastructure, health, and Housing.  The tool includes statistical and spatial analyses which, in addition to providing a more localized context, serve as a guide and example for plan development. The Interactive Vulnerability and Risk Maps are available at www.foundationpr.org/WCRP.

Community Outreach

Yes, FPR will provide technical assistance, workshops and general support during the planning process. The technical assistance process also aims to increase community participation. The goal is to make stronger plans and create an agile process.

You can find additional information on Foundation for Puerto Rico’s website: www.foundationforpuertorico/wcrp or reach out to WCRP@foundationpr.org. For questions related to the NOFA or any other WCRP Program related matter, reach out to wcrp@vivienda.pr.gov.

WCRP Program applicants will be required to submit an Endorsement Letter. Additionally, subrecipients must sign a formal agreement with the community o communities they will work with before beginning the Community Resilience Plan development stage.

The Puerto Rico Department of Housing and FPR will carry out extensive community outreach efforts throughout Puerto Rico once the NOFA is published. These efforts will allow both entities to inform on the WCRP’s Program application processes, the available information and tools, and toolkits, among other topics.  All the meetings are meant to be public (open to anyone) and anyone interested can participate.

If you are unable  to assist an outreach meeting in person, FPR may take into consideration using digital platforms (such as, but not limited to, Facebook, Zoom, etc.) to hold the meetings. These platforms will permit a fully interaction with communities and principal stakeholders.

There will be at least 16 community meetings. They will be held in different areas of Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra. At the moment, these meetings are set to be carried out virtually or in person.

All the meetings are public and any interested person may participate.

Planning

A plan is a document that also works as an instrument, produced by a planning process, aimed at achieving an objective. For example, there are strategic plans, comprehensive plans, zoning and land use plans, comprehensive development plans, among others, that help establish a route toward achieving a vision, a goal and short, medium, and long term objectives. It is considered a best practice that these documents align with laws, public policies, codes, rules, and other important sources. Ordinarily, plans state which areas are covered. However, some plans may cover several areas.

A Community Resilience Plan is the main product of the WCRP Program and refers to a comprehensive plan developed by the community with the assistance of a subrecipient that will guide the implementation of recovery actions and strategies for recover in the short, medium, and long term that strengthen community resilience.

The objective of the Plan is to capture the results of a planning process that is oriented towards resilience and establish a route for the future implementation of the resilience actions prioritized by the community. This Plan will be a document that informs, educates, and proposes strategies that strengthen community resilience in accordance with the vulnerabilities identified by the community.

A planning process includes the steps taken to develop a plan that will guide future strategies and activities. In participatory planning processes, communities engage in a process, frequently supported by experts in different fields, to diagnose and establish paths toward addressing the problems they identified. For the WCRP Program specifically, the planning process is outlined in the Planning Framework and its Milestones. These documents establish the necessary steps, through a participatory planning process, for the development of a Community Resilience Plan.

The WCRP Program aims to create recovery solutions for communities affected by hurricanes Irma and María that will strengthen their capacity to respond to impacts as well as their resilience. Puerto Rico’s reconstruction after the impact of hurricanes Irma and María will require innovative strategies for the short, medium, and long term that will strengthen community resilience. In doing so, we will ensure that recovery solutions will incorporate comprehensive, inclusive, and transformative strategies as we face future challenges and climate change.

The Planning Framework (or “Framework”) is the document that explains the steps and methods throughout four (4) phases for the development of the Community Resilience Plans.

The WCRP Program has a Planning team that lead the development of the Framework. The team referenced plans, programs and best practices based on resilience, adaptation to climate change and bottom-up community participation processes rooted in the Puerto Rican context. The Framework provides a methodology that prioritizes a planning process centered on community assets as a route toward strengthening community resilience.

Throughout the Program’s application process, applicants will use the Framework to inform on the development of their proposals. During the Program’s planning process, subrecipients will follow the four (4) planning phases, as established in the Framework, to create Community Resilience Plans and identify recovery solutions for future impacts.

The Planning Milestones (or “Milestones”) support all phases established in the Planning Framework. The eight (8) Milestones, which are also included in the Notice of Funding Availability (or “NOFA”), establish the basics of compliance and means of monitoring for WCRP Program subrecipients throughout the planning process and the development of Community Resilience Plans.

The Guidelines for the Implementation of the Planning Milestones (or “Guidelines”) document is a reference tool for subrecipients that establishes the tasks, objectives, and means of monitoring for each of the eight (8) Milestones. The Guidelines will support the implementation of the four (4) phases in the Planning Framework to guarantee the creation of the CRPs and assist in the development of initial proposals, as well as the implementation of the Program in each of its areas. These Guidelines will help subrecipients understand the general Community Resilience Plan compliance requirements and facilitate the development of their initial proposals, as well as the implementation of the Program in its respective areas.

The Template for Community Resilience Plans is a preestablished model created by the WCRP Program to assist in publishing drafts of the Plans and aid in finalizing them.  This template will help achieve consistency throughout all the plans and to have a more agile final publication. Throughout the Program application process, applicants may use the Template to create the Community Resilience Plan document. Throughout the planning process, the Template will be a tool to aid in the development and publishing of their Plans.

The Community Intervention Handbook provides information on different tools, exercises and methods that will provide for fair, participatory, effective, and efficient community interventions.

The resilience actions and strategies to be presented in the Community Resilience Plan may align with one or more of the five core focus areas, such as: 

  • Economic Development; examples include: 
    • Increasing job attraction and retention 
    • Initiatives that support local businesses growth  
  • Education; examples include: 

    • Training opportunities for workforce development 
    • Collaborating with higher level education institutions to support local after school and adult education programs
  • Environment; examples include: 

    • Permeable paving on select paved surfaces to reduce runoff and floods
    • Reforestation or afforestation programs
  • Health; examples include:
    • Improvement of accessibility to hospitals and clinics 
    • Increasing access and affordability to healthy and nutritious food
  • Housing; examples include: 

    • Creation of different affordable housing opportunities 
    • Providing strategic solutions to deal with property deed issues 
  • Infrastructure; examples include: 

    • Improving the accessibility and capacity of the roads network
    • Improving of multi-modal options for transportation and mobility (pedestrian, bicycle, car, bus, train, etc.) 
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