The Challenge:

The 2017 hurricane season left unprecedented damaged to the island’s housing infrastructure, especially in places like Punta Santiago, where Hurricane Maria made landfall. An uneven response from FEMA has left many people without a home or with their properties still wrecked as if Maria had passed yesterday. 

How is Hispanic Federation Helping?
Hispanic Federation is supporting the development of resilient transitional and permanenthabitation in high-need communities by working with local, trusted organizations that are coordinating on-the-ground housing and community development efforts. 

Who are we helping?

Viviendas Initiative (Island-wide) 

  • Hispanic Federation has committed 3 million USD to a comprehensive housing rehabilitation initiative that will focus on three key areasphysical repairs to homes, civil and legal services, and advocacy focused on access to federal resources and public participation in housing and long-term community development. 

  • The project will fund more than 17 organizations to collaborate on the repair of more than 100 homes, to attend individual and community legal concerns¾like land titles and FEMA appeals, and expropriation and mitigation¾while building long-term renewable energy sources to address systemic challenges through the creation of a multi-sector coalition for housing. 

Water Alliance (Island-wide) 

  • Hispanic Federation has teamed together with Puerto Rico Community Foundation (PRCF), Oxfam America, and Bosque Modelo on a multi-year initiative to strengthen all 239 rural community-operated aqueducts across the island, also known as non-PRASA systems. 

  • These community aqueducts provide potable water and are not connected to the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewage Authority (PRASA). 

  • Water Alliance aims to enable sustainable access to water through restoration and improvement of existing infrastructure, and the strengthening of administrative capacity within the communities. 

  • Most of these systems are located in isolated rural areas and many of them do not use water treatment technology. They are operated by community organized committees or boards that administer and maintain them. 

  • By strengthening these infrastructures, Water Alliance will include the installation of renewable energy sources systems and equipment, support for regulations compliance, mentoring between communities, and infrastructure repair.

Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martín Peña/G8 (San Juan) 

  • Proyecto Enlace fights for social and environmental justice on behalf of eight low-income communities neighboring El Caño Martin Peña, an urban tidal channel that for decades has suffered the effects of contaminated water due to lack of sewage infrastructure. 

  • After Hurricane Maria destroyed more than 1,000 rooftops, Enlace launched Techos para el Caño, an initiative to replace blue tarps with permanent roofs in El Caño.

  • With Hispanic Federation funding they are hiring local builders to repair the roofs on dozens of homes in ways that will be resilient in the face of future hurricanes.

Centros Sor Isolina Ferre (Guayama, Cataño, San Juan, Villalba, Bayamon, and Canovanas) 

  • For decades, Centros Sor Isolina Ferre (CSIF) has focused on providing integrated social services that support community building and empowerment. 

  • Hispanic Federation has partnered with CSIF in six municipalities to repair rooftops that were destroyed during Hurricane Maria. 

  • Hispanic Federation and CSIF focus their efforts on elderly residents who either did not qualify for FEMA assistance or received insufficient funds to repair their homes. 

Proyecto Mátria (Orocovis) 

  • In the mountainous and hard-to-reach center of the island, Proyecto Mátria¾with the backing of Hispanic Federation¾has launched Casa Solidaria Mátria, a woman-focused work and activities center that aims to stimulate reconstruction, microenterprise development, and education.

  • Proyecto Mátria offers a comprehensive social and microenterprise development curriculum to over 20 local residents, as well as after-school programs for youth. 

  • Participants who graduate from the program will be able to incubate their microenterprises in Casa Solidaria Mátria and on a local farm.  

  • Proyecto Mátria is also focused on repairing 20 homes in Orocovis. 

Plenitud PR (Las Marías) 

  • With funding from Hispanic Federation, Plenitud PR is taking a two-pronged approach towards grassroots community rebuilding by training 50 community leaders to build sustainable “SuperAdobe” homes that can serve as models for low-cost, hurricane-resistant construction all over the island. 

  • And to encourage self-sufficiency, the organization is providing workshops on how to install and integrate rainwater catchment systems into homes.

  • Plenitud PR has already installed over 30 of these rainwater systems in homes, schools, and community churches.

Puerto Rico Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) (San Juan) 

  • For the past 20 years, Puerto Rico NHS has worked in the community of Alto del Cabro to empower residents through community development and the ownership of affordable, safe and reliable homes.

  • With support from Hispanic Federation, Puerto Rico Neighborhood Housing Services has so far rehabilitated six out of over twenty Alto El Cabro houses severely affected by Hurricane Maria.

La Maraña (Comerio, Carolina and Humacao) 

  • This women-led nonprofit organization is using funding from Hispanic Federation to rehabilitate six homes across two communities. 

  • Through a participatory planning process, La Maraña worked with local grassroots partners to identify workers with construction skills. 

  • Then community members identified homes that were damaged and voted to prioritize rehabilitation work. After construction is completed, community members will continue to use this innovative participatory model to collectively design and implement a local social-impact project. 

Programa de Educación Comunal de Entrega y Servicio PECES(Humacao) 

  • A well-established organization in the area, PECES works to develop and empower marginalized communities, many devastated when the eye of Hurricane Maria made landfall in the Humacao area. 

  • PECES serves communities like Punta Santiago, which is surrounded by water and was only reachable by helicopter in the days following Hurricane Maria’s landfall. 

  • With help from Hispanic Federation funding PECES launched an innovative housing rehabilitation initiative that will integrate young people and support repairs on ten homes in Punta Santiago, Humacao.

Red por los Derechos de la Niñez y Juventud de Puerto Rico (Juncos)  

  • Red de Albergues is an organization that supports Puerto Rico’s youth shelter system.

  • With support from Hispanic Federation, Red de Albergues will construct a transitional home for 100 young persons that have aged out of the foster care system, between the ages of 18 and 21, and are homeless as a consequence. 

  • This home will provide youth with a safe and dignified independent living space, as well as ongoing psychosocial and other supportive services.