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FEMA has approved $3.5M for Hogar CREA repairs islandwide

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted more than $3.5 million for 38 permanent repair projects at Hogar CREA facilities in the Puerto Rico municipalities of Juncos, Coamo, Fajardo and Trujillo Alto.

The federal funding will enable Hogar CREA to “maintain its facilities in optimal conditions” to continue its mission of rehabilitating individuals with addiction issues, said Carlos Pagán-Ortiz, the director of Hogar CREA’s treatment department.

The Juncos facility, which received $281,000 of the total funds for repairs, is a residential treatment center that serves approximately 500 participants annually.

“It offers personalized attention and a wide range of therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, individual counseling and medication-assisted treatments,” he explained.

The allocated funds will cover repairs to the entrance, main building, medical office, rooms, and machine room, among other areas. Repairs to the gazebo, kitchen and building painting have already been completed.

Hogar CREA is Puerto Rico’s largest private nonprofit organization dedicated to rehabilitating individuals with drug and alcohol abuse problems. Since it was inaugurated in 1968, more than 65,400 people have received treatment through its centers.

It operates 42 residential homes in Puerto Rico – where people live and receive treatment – and has a presence stateside in Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as in Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Honduras.

“This organization’s contribution to society transcends generations and embodies the fundamental values of compassion, fairness and respect for others,” said FEMA’s federal disaster recovery coordinator, José G. Baquero.

The impact of Hurricane Maria not only affected Hogar CREA’s facilities, but also disrupted its service delivery program by forcing it to halt new admissions. Many prospective candidates for the programs were in the different shelters that were set up throughout the island. As a primary strategy, the nonprofit focused on providing essential services for existing participants. This strategy allowed the organization to retain participants despite the challenges faced.

The agency allocated nearly $404,000 for repairs to the Coamo residence and more than $242,000 for permanent work at the Hogar CREA in Fajardo. Both sites are undergoing construction for repairs, including buildings and exterior fences.

Additionally, FEMA provided funds for structural repairs to one of the entity’s most important residential centers, Hogar CREA Mothers with Children in Trujillo Alto. The center offers services to mothers and children affected by HIV or drug addiction. This home features a childcare facility to help parents with HIV to manage their condition while staying with their children. Repairs at that center have been completed.

Mitigation efforts are in place for all projects in Juncos, Coamo, Fajardo and Trujillo Alto to strengthen the structures against future damages. 

Funding and subsequent repair of the treatment centers have a significant positive effect on the rehabilitation and recovery of residents, in that they contribute to the safety and stability of residents, Pagán said.

“The environment is an important factor in mental health treatment, including substance abuse disorder treatment. Quality services in the right setting positively affect the mental health environment. Homelessness or housing instability can be significant barriers to treatment success. The funds received by FEMA have had an immense impact since they have allowed our [organization] to restore its facilities and [be] able to comply with the new federal building codes,” Pagán said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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