Habitat for Humanity has invested $13M to repair homes in Puerto Rico
Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico has invested $13 million, for an average of $30,000 per home, through its recovery programs created to help rebuild after Hurricanes Irma and María pummeled the island five years ago.
The nonprofit has several initiatives running, spearheaded by the Home Repairs Program, in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity International and was primarily funded by AbbVie and other corporate donors, nonprofit officials said.
With the program, they have been able to repair 560 houses, with 1,186 people aided in Adjuntas, Arroyo, Bayamón, Caguas, Canóvanas, Carolina, Cataño, Guayama, Jayuya, Juncos, Loíza, Patillas, Salinas, Santa Isabel, San Juan, Utuado and Yabucoa, said Amanda Silva, Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico’s executive director.
“Now, there is also an opportunity to get a job with a pilot program in Santurce, created with Sacred Heart University, which expanded to Salinas, to be able to serve that municipality,” said Silva.
“It is five and a half weeks, and it teaches skills in masonry, carpentry, plumbing, electricity and others,” said Silva.
“The idea is to be able to nurture our community that needs workers and also give families the opportunity to find work,” added Silva.
Another sub-program, called Title Clearance, in collaboration with Access to Justice Fund Foundation, helped 489 families get their home’s property title.
Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico also has its Home Acquisition Program, which helps families get affordable housing with a 30-year low-cost, low-interest or no-interest mortgage and revolving funds for its monthly payments, as Silva explained.
In exchange for their house, the families put in 70 hours of their time, helping build their homes by cleaning, painting, gardening, or participating in their educational workshops for the maintenance of their homes.
At the end of June 2022, 146 had participated in the workshops, while Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico hopes to train 620 people by 2023, Silva said
“Because of the economic depression in Puerto Rico, the aspect of construction, that knowledge from generation to generation was affected by migration and there is not enough labor to be able to carry out these projects,” said Silva.
“We created a program of workshops where we educate those of us who are helping with the repairs, give them the opportunity to own a home and how to maintain the home because we want to give them the tools so that they can identify and maintain their home so that they are not vulnerable and that they can maintain the value of that property,” said Silva.
As Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico shares the results of its housing programs’ accomplishments, it will mark its 25th anniversary with an exhibition of its achievements and its role in the recovery five years after the storms, Sept. 12-18 in Plaza Las Américas.