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Habitat for Humanity finishes home repairs in 5 communities in Guayama

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A total of 37 families in the town of Guayama now have a safe roof over their heads through an initiative by Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico and its Housing Repair Program, created to aid in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of homes across the island affected by the Hurricanes Irma and María.

The project, which represents an investment of $1.1 million for the city of Guayama, is primarily funded by a $50 million donation from global biopharmaceutical company AbbVie.

AbbVie’s donation is part of a larger $350 million charitable commitment the company made to nonprofit organizations to create and foster long-term, positive impact in communities including supporting partners in Puerto Rico to strengthen access to healthcare and housing. 

Additionally, the L.A. Dodgers baseball team helped rehab four homes, totaling an investment of nearly $100,000.

“At Habitat Puerto Rico, we remain focused on fulfilling our commitment to contributing to the sustainable reconstruction of Puerto Rico,” said Amanda Silva, executive director at Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico.

“With the repairs completed in Guayama, we’re on track toward our goal of repairing a total of 700 homes under the Housing Repair Program and giving families in communities affected by the natural disasters the opportunity to have decent, safe and resilient homes,” she said.

AbbVie, one of the largest private employers in Puerto Rico with more than 1,200 employees, partnered with Habitat for Humanity after the back-to-back 2017 storms “to help move Puerto Rico from recovery to resilience,” company officials said.

 “The devastating impacts of Hurricanes Irma and María are still felt today, and as one of the largest employers on the island, AbbVie is committed to working with partners like Habitat for Humanity in recovery and resilience efforts,” said AbbVie Puerto Rico’s General Manager Alejandro Drevon.

“By supporting Habitat’s commitment to building structures that can withstand severe weather, we will better protect Puerto Rico’s infrastructure from future damage. We are proud of the progress Habitat for Humanity has made this far and look forward to their continued work on the island,” he said.

Habitat Puerto Rico’s work in the communities of Olimpo, Corazón, Caimital, Pueblo and Costa Azul in Guayama generated 16 local construction jobs. The type of work performed included repair and replacement of wood and zinc roofs; repairing, sealing, and waterproofing concrete roofs; installation of doors and windows; repairing of floors and kitchens; exterior and interior paint; and installation of railings.

One of the homeowners who received assistance through this project is 82-year-old Luis and his 55-year-old son who is disabled.

“Most homes around us were destroyed by the hurricane and they were never reconstructed. Our home lost part of the roof, the water leaked through the roof and walls, and the stilts were crooked,” said Luis.

“We’re grateful for Habitat who came to help us; they fixed the roof, the walls and the stilts. The house is perfect, and we don’t get wet when it rains anymore; now it’s worth it to live here and I hope that God allows me many more years to enjoy it with my son,” he said.

The Housing Repair Program, which encompasses housing repairs, rehabilitations and new construction, is part of Habitat Puerto Rico’s five-year disaster recovery initiative.

Guayama is one of five municipalities on the southeast region of the island included in the program, which has completed repairs in Arroyo and Salinas and is set to begin next in Santa Isabel and Patillas.

In addition to the home repair program, Habitat Puerto Rico is working to address other systemic issues impacting residents in Puerto Rico, which include: security of land tenure, capacity building in the construction sector and at the household level, and knowledge-sharing capabilities within governmental agencies and municipalities to help improve disaster response recovery solutions.

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