They’re calling it the strongest Section 3 plan in the state. And a model for all of Texas. And we made it happen!
Section 3 is the federal law that requires that federal funds be used in benefit of the low income and working families of our area.
Early this year, we organized a petition campaign calling on the Council of Governments (CoG) to accept the Section 3 plan crafted by the Equal Voice Network with input from colonia residents for the use of federal disaster recovery funds meant to help get the families affected by Hurricane Dolly back on their feet.
While the CoG did not accept all of our plans, what they did accept is still the strongest Section 3 plan in the state.
The Monitor reports on the victory:
The Rio Grande Valley’s new plan for spending federal funding will require contractors to hire more local, low-income workers.
Valley city and county officials who administer U.S. Housing and Urban Development funding helped draft the regional plan in response to complaints their self-reporting compliance with a federal law wasn’t enough. Although HUD’s Section 3 program requires recipients of federal assistance to provide job training, employment and contracting opportunities to qualified workers and businesses, a Valley group that advocates on behalf of low-income families complained the law isn’t closely followed here.
The regional Section 3 plan — adopted by the cities and counties that receive HUD funding — satisfies the federal government’s requirements, said Diana Serna, the director of Hidalgo County’s Urban County program. But it goes further by asking Valley communities to prepare documentation of the Section 3 compliance and asks contractors to hire more Section 3-eligible businesses and employees…
The Equal Voice Network, a coalition of nonprofit groups that advocates on behalf of colonia residents, began asking elected officials in January to implement tighter requirements under Section 3. The group was concerned that a $186 million plan to rehabilitate and reconstruct homes damaged by Hurricane Dolly wouldn’t do enough to hire eligible workers…
Read the entire article on theMonitor.com
The victory is third in a series of victories brought about by the Housing Working Group of the RGV Equal Voice Network, the local community organizing network of which LUPE forms a part. Past victories include $122 million in federal disaster recovery funds to assist residents repairing housing damage caused by hurricane Doll, and $14 million for drainage improvements in Hidalgo County colonias.