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Habitat for Humanity Int’l, AbbVie mark successes of 5 yr. partnership in Puerto Rico

Habitat for Humanity International, in partnership with AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, has announced the culmination of a five-year collaboration that bolstered the global housing nonprofit’s disaster recovery initiatives in Puerto Rico.

Following the destruction caused by hurricanes Irma and María, in 2018 AbbVie made a $50 million contribution to aid Habitat’s shelter relief efforts throughout Puerto Rico.

The funds from AbbVie have allowed Habitat to collaborate directly with those affected by the hurricanes, improving housing accessibility for more than 19,000 people through repairs, new home construction, workforce training, and household and community capacity building, as well as aiding in the resolution of property title issues.

“AbbVie is committed to supporting the unmet needs of communities and driving resiliency,” said Claudia Carravetta, vice president of Corporate Responsibility and Global Philanthropy at AbbVie.

“We’re grateful we could partner with Habitat for Humanity to fund the repair of homes, support construction workforce development, and enable affordable and safe housing for communities across Puerto Rico,” she said.

Hurricanes María and Irma inflicted unprecedented damage on homes across the island. Supported by AbbVie, Habitat has completed more than 800 construction projects in 22 municipalities, including Adjuntas, Cabo Rojo, Jayuya, Patillas, Ponce and San Juan. The projects included 776 home repairs and 29 new home constructions and rehabilitations, with 10 additional multi-family units to be finished by summer’s end.

According to the Puerto Rico Planning Society, it was estimated that around 260,000 homes, housing approximately 1.3 million people, were constructed without clear titles or proper permits, leading to substantial challenges in securing home repairs or other assistance.

AbbVie’s funding has enabled Habitat to collaborate with the Puerto Rican government and local legal services to develop sustainable housing solutions and assist families in acquiring the necessary legal documentation for their property.

More than 600 families have benefited from legal support through the partnership, enabling them to clarify their titles or formally prove ownership.

In the wake of the hurricanes in 2017, there was a pressing need to expand the construction workforce to aid the island’s reconstruction, AbbVie officials recalled.

Habitat for Humanity Puerto Rico established the “Habitat Builds Puerto Rico” workforce program, providing intensive five-week training for individuals entering the construction sector to assist in the restoration of homes and communities.

The program equips students with a range of construction skills, health and safety knowledge, and career counseling. As of November 2023, the program has graduated 385 students.

“Over six years ago, the island of Puerto Rico was devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria, leaving millions of people and their families in unthinkable and vulnerable situations,” recalled Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International.

“Habitat for Humanity has a strong track record of providing long-term disaster recovery support to communities, but we know we cannot do it alone. Our five-year partnership with AbbVie demonstrated what a true and successful collaboration between the nonprofit sector, the private sector and the public sector looks like, and we are proud of the achievements we’ve made to help Puerto Ricans and their families build back stronger and more resilient than before,” he remarked.

“We’re grateful to AbbVie for their support of our work and our mission of building homes, communities and hope,” Reckford said.

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

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