About UPR Resiliency Law Center (RLC) (Español)
Our work in the Recovery and Rebuilding Program is based on the proposition that fair representation of Puerto Rico’s civil society leaders in the planning and implementation of disaster recovery processes and among grant and contract recipients results in sustainable economic growth, faster rebuilding, and less waste.
In current practice, however, the decision-making on planning with Federal disaster recovery funds is overly centralized and the majority of Federal disaster recovery contracts are awarded to national vendors who lack local economic ties or expertise.
We believe that a primary cause of recovery programs’ failure in Puerto Rico is that Federal recovery managers are bypassing local community organizations and populations. Local communities actually have an untapped reservoir of knowledge, drive and capacity to partner with government in the successful delivery of aid for their communities.
Under the current Federal strategy, the action plans for investment in reconstruction and mitigation are being developed with no real input from those who have most-effectively provided service to the most vulnerable: local community leaders, non profit organizations, and municipalities. Also, on the one hand, there are contract officers and awardees that lack grounded connections to the communities served, and on the other hand, there are local communities that lack the knowledge on federal contracting and grants law required to self-advocate. Instead, solutions are developed in Washington, D.C., without input from the field, and relying on generic requirements and vendors with no local expertise.