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Habitat for Humanity delivers apartments in Santurce worth $1.9M to 12 families

The dream of homeownership became a reality for 12 families with the help of Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico, which delivered apartments worth a combined $1.9 million in Santurce.

The investment was financed through a $50 million donation from biopharmaceutical company AbbVie. The project located on Ponce de León Ave. included the acquisition, rehabilitation, and sale of the building’s 12 units to low- and middle-income families in need of a home.

The multi-family housing project is part of Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico’s Home Acquisition Program created to contribute to the reconstruction of Puerto Rico and help families affected by hurricanes Irma and María, the nonprofit explained.

“Today once again we witness the fulfillment of our vision: that every person has a decent and safe place to live,” said Amanda Silva, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico, who added that through the project the organization also contributes to the revitalization and economy of Santurce, and to the equitable development and diversity in the area.

“We’re proud to be able to give working class people the opportunity to acquire and enjoy the stability and peace of mind that comes with owning a home, and to build a better future in an urban area such as Santurce where property costs are increasingly unaffordable,” she said.

The Santurce project responds to the growing problem of access to affordable housing in Puerto Rico continues, while the demand continues to rise, the nonprofit stated.

The organization confirmed it received approximately 600 applications from people interested in acquiring a property in the building.

“AbbVie partners with nonprofit organizations to understand where the greatest need is, and in response to hurricanes Irma and María Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico has consistently stepped up for families in need,” said Alejandro Drevon, general manager of AbbVie Puerto Rico.

“This continues to move Puerto Rico from recovery to resilience, and we’re thrilled that these 12 families will join the many others supported by Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico,” he said.

To qualify for the purchase of one of the 12 properties — each featuring 750 square feet, two bedrooms, one bathroom, living room, and kitchen — the new owners had to fulfill several requirements including — having the capacity to pay an affordable mortgage with 0% interest and contribute 100 hours of volunteer work in the rehabilitation of their future home, completing tasks such as cleaning and painting. In addition, they participated in workshops that will help them succeed in their new role as homeowners.

“At Habitat for Humanity we not only offer financial assistance to facilitate the acquisition of a home, but we work in collaboration with individuals and families who want to better themselves in the rehabilitation of what will be their new home, with the purpose of providing them with a sense of pride and belonging,” Silva said.

“Today these families begin a new life in their own home thanks to their effort and determination to get ahead,” she added.

When Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico acquired the Ponce de León building in 2019, it had been in disuse for several years. The property was built in 1947 with a commercial area downstairs and residences on the upper floors.

The rehabilitation was done with the vision of adapting the building to fit a contemporary lifestyle while maintaining its historical value and original design which includes handcrafted tiles, high ceilings and open spaces in the center.

The building’s rehabilitation generated 30 jobs including architects, engineers, and construction workers, and consisted mainly of the complete restructuring of the first level to include a vehicular entrance with an electric gate, parking, cisterns, lobby, laundry and a meeting space; and the installation of modern iron grills and fences, and paint throughout the building.

As owners and neighbors of Santurce, the building’s residents will now experience “a new lifestyle in an urban commercial area close to restaurants, drug stores, banks, and movie theatres, with easy access to main avenues, recreational areas and beaches,” said the nonprofit.

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

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