Students And Volunteers Help To Rebuild Puerto Rico’s Homes Following Hurricane Maria

2017 saw Puerto Rico and the surrounding islands devastated by Hurricane Maria. The destruction caused to housing alone is estimated to have cost $37 billion and, almost one year one, thousands of locals are still without fixed accommodation. However, things are looking up as volunteers continue to flock to the island to aid the rebuilding program, showing that the nation’s effort to assist the Virgin Islands is finally paying off.

Rebuilding the island

Approximately, 125,000 of Puerto Rico’s residents temporarily moved to the Caribbean mainland following Hurricane Maria. Since then, every effort has been made to rebuild the island so that homeowners can return. Admiringly, a third set of New York college students and construction workers have reached the island ready to provide aid and transform it into a habitable community once again. The state has also revealed that it plans to send an additional 500 SUNY and CUNY student volunteers and multiple laborers to Puerto Rico over the summer.

America reaches out

It’s not just American students and laborers who are helping to turn the island around. One couple from Chicago were so impacted by their previous experiences in Puerto Rico that when they heard about Hurricane Maria, they packed up their belongings and moved to El Yunque National Forest. Since arriving on the island, Pete Croke and Ellen Bunch have spent time doing up their own property, which wasn’t affected by the hurricane. However, their main aim is to volunteer and rebuild the island. “We’re trying to do a balancing act of trying to get our stuff together, but then also be able to go out and meet new people and kind of see what’s going on, make friends with neighbors, and see where we can help in the community,” Croke stated.

Stumbling blocks

Hurricane Maria caused an estimated $90 billion worth of damage. Yet, the federal government has pledged just $18.5 billion to help rebuild homes and infrastructure on the island. Meanwhile, experts are advising that many inhabitants may not be entitled to reconstruction aid due to them not officially owning the land on which their homes reside. Therefore, the island needs more people like Croke and Bunch and students and laborers to help boost housing and the economy. Homeowners who are keen to support the effort can invest their own savings into the rebuilding project. Alternatively, releasing cash from your home via a reverse mortgage would free up funds allowing you to stay in Puerto Rico for a significant period of time and provide assistance.

Over the past 12 months, Puerto Rico has had a tough time. However, the effort that the whole of the Caribbean and America have put into rebuilding the island is admirable. As long as this pattern continues, it won’t be long before Puerto Rico’s housing market and economy are thriving again.