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One Stop Career Center gets $161K grant to close housing inequity gaps

Communities in Toa Baja will be assisted in acquiring title deeds and in becoming more resilient.

The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York and Prudential Financial have provided financial support to the Puerto Rico Community Foundation (PRCF) for a $161,000 grant to One Stop Career Center, a nonprofit dedicated to serving communities in Toa Baja.

The grant will allow One Stop Career to address “inequity gaps in areas of home ownership, resilience and economic development,” the partners said.

“One Stop has been a tremendous community partner of the Puerto Rico Community Foundation for many years, and we hold the Toa Baja community close to our heart, given that we know firsthand the inequities existing in these communities,” said Nelson I. Colón-Tarrats, president of PRCF.

“We are thankful for the support from Prudential and the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York,” Colón-Tarrats said, adding that the “grant seeks to strengthen the human, social and physical capitals of these communities.”

The funding will help One Stop Career assist around 15 residents in Toa Baja in obtaining home ownership titles, many of whom are elderly. Additionally, about four houses will be made resilient, providing access to energy and water, which are currently unreliable.

The grant also includes an economic development component aimed at fostering entrepreneurship, in collaboration with the nonprofit Asociación de Comunidades Unidas Tomando Acción Solidaria (ACUTAS), which runs a microenterprise incubation program.

“Prudential has been a staunch supporter of Puerto Rico since Hurricane María and has been a partner and collaborator of Puerto Rico Community Foundation ever since. We’re so grateful that we were able to bring these two institutions together to support this grant to One Stop,” said Mary Ann Gabino, senior vice president of PRCF. She noted that Prudential’s contribution is part of disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Fiona.

One Stop has been active in Toa Baja since 2005, particularly in the communities of San José, Villa Calma I, Villa Calma II, Villas del Sol, and Ingenio, in collaboration with ACUTAS and community leaders. These areas struggle significantly with access to electricity and potable water.

“We’re grateful for this grant and the partnership we have made with Fundación Comunitaria and ACUTAS to build strong and resilient communities,” said Carmen Cosme, executive director of One Stop Career. “For 23 years, we have been fostering partnerships with different sectors for the well-being of the community and their social and economic transformation.”

“This strategic gathering to support housing ownership and economic development are part of One Stop’s commitment to empowering communities,” she said.

The unreliable electrical infrastructure and system fragility pose risks to residents’ safety, particularly during extreme weather events, according to representatives from the involved organizations.

“The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York is proud to join with Puerto Rico Community Foundation and Prudential Financial to help support One Stop Career Center,” said José R. González, president of the New York-based entity.

“Homeownership, resiliency and economic development are key to building stronger communities, and the work that One Stop is doing in Toa Baja creates a foundation from which all can grow,” González said.

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

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