San Germán, Puerto Rico, Kicks Off its Disaster Recovery Program through IBTS Pro-Bono Services

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The IBTS STaRT Program will provide disaster relief services as San Germán as the municipo recovers from Hurricane Maria.

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The Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS) is pleased to announce the successful kick off of its Start Toward a Recovery Today (STaRT) program in San Germán, Puerto Rico. San Germán is the first community in Puerto Rico to execute the STaRT Program agreement with IBTS, allowing the Municipo to position itself positively with Puerto Rico’s disaster recovery agencies, such as Vivienda, COR3, and the Planning Board.

Under the disaster declaration following Hurricane Maria in 2017, over $4.7 billion in public assistance grants were allocated to Puerto Rico to address recovery needs associated with hurricane damage. The Municipo of San Germán took advantage of IBTS’s STaRT program to assist their recovery and funding-compliance processes. This program offers pro-bono services to a select number of communities per year, and provides the resources and expertise needed to alleviate the immediate burden of the unknown during disaster recovery.

For San Germán, this translates to providing technical assistance and training, identifying and prioritizing local projects, facilitating the reimbursement of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds, and educating municipal staff on how local citizens can access housing programs.

“San Germán is pleased to work with IBTS to begin the recovery process for our city and citizens,” said Mayor Isidro Negrón. “We are thrilled that they offer the STaRT program, which will provide us with much-needed help, including technical assistance in identifying available funding for disaster recovery, FEMA reimbursements, CDBG-DR project identification, and more.”

As a nonprofit organization, IBTS views the STaRT program as a critical component of its disaster mitigation and recovery efforts. The goal is for the municipal staff to gain a broad understanding of eligible FEMA and Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) activities and requirements. Training will include information on project activities, procurement, and financial management. In addition, IBTS staff are helping San Germán prepare for the utilization of funds, prioritizing long-term recovery projects.

“There is considerable need for support, in both knowledge and ability, to navigate through the recovery process following a natural disaster,” said Steve Traina, Deputy Director of Economic Development and Disaster Recovery at IBTS. “It is our pleasure to assist San Germán in their post-disaster needs and we hope that this program will accelerate their recovery process and build long-term resilience strategies for the community.”

To learn more about IBTS’s STaRT program offerings, please contact Steve Traina at straina (at) ibts (dot) org. For helpful resources specific to disaster mitigation, planning, and recovery, please visit http://www.ibtsonhand.org. Visit http://www.ibts.org for additional information and services provided by IBTS.

About IBTS
IBTS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to helping communities through quality services that reduce risk, enhance public safety, and improve quality of life. IBTS is headquartered in Ashburn, Virginia with branch offices across the country. IBTS’s work is guided by a Board of Directors made up of government officials appointed by five of the most highly respected, grassroots, state and local governmental associations, including the Council of State Governments (CSG), International City/County Management Association (ICMA), National Association of Counties (NACo), National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), and National League of Cities (NLC).

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Stephanie Schmidt
IBTS
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