After the Disasters

In the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, Connecticut welcomed thousands of Puerto Ricans who had lost everything. For many of these fellow American citizens, the crisis is far from over.

Local nonprofits step up to help displaced Puerto Ricans

Hurricane Maria forced the Hernandez family to flee their home in Puerto Rico because they could no longer receive medical care for their 2-year-old daughter, Miia, who suffers from seizures. The family's temporary FEMA housing assistance expires in April.

With emergency funding ending, continued support is needed

In the aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, Connecticut welcomed thousands of Puerto Ricans who had lost everything. For many of these fellow American citizens, the crisis is far from over.

Months after the devastating storms, returning home is still not viable for many Puerto Ricans. A healthcare system that was already struggling is in disarray. Large swaths of the island remain cut off from the electrical power grid. Communities facing years of rebuilding have turned to a patchwork of small generators, which are unreliable, loud, and aggravate asthma and other respiratory problems.

Nearly 1000 displaced Puerto Ricans have come to New Haven for assistance. While most have moved on to be near relatives in other areas, those that remain are typically individuals with medical needs, the elderly, and families with young children.

Junta for Progressive Action, New Haven's longstanding agency focused on services and advocacy for the Latino Community, has been coordinating relief for displaced Puerto Ricans. Because temporary emergency government funding for Puerto Rican hurricane victims is ending, Junta is seeing an uptick in referrals from around the state and New York.

Junta is working closely with Fair Haven Community Health Care and a network of local nonprofit partners and the City of New Haven to deliver essential services to individuals and families in need.

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Junta for Progressive Action is the central agency for assisting displaced Puerto Ricans. Junta has helped more than 900 individuals so far with securing the basic needs of food, housing, clothing, and employment.

Fair Haven Community Health Care has seen more than 400 individuals affected by the hurricanes. Now that the acute phase is over, the clinic is continuing to see patients with chronic conditions.

Community Action Agency has provided a caseworker to Junta and connected families to heating fuel assistance.

JCARR, the Jewish Community Refugees Resettlement Program, a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven, has donated funds to buy winter clothing.

IRIS, Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services are working with Junta to provide donated furnishings and food support.

Mutual Housing Association of South Central Connecticut is working with Junta and the New Haven Housing Authority to secure housing assistance for families.

The Salvation Army has helped more than 50 families with food and heating assistance.

The Spanish Community of Wallingford is running a bi-monthly welcome center in Meriden at Casa Boricua and has helped more than a dozen families with housing, food, clothing, and employment.

United Way of Greater New Haven is providing donated funds to support relief efforts.

Did you know?

Following the recent natural disasters in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Caribbean, local philanthropy stepped up to help with relief efforts on the ground.

Arte and the New Haven Latino Council raised and spent more than $130,000 for relief items that went directly to Puerto Rico.

The Progreso Latino Fund (PLF) an endowed fund at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, has provided more than $26,000 in disaster relief funds for Puerto Rico and Mexico. PLF also awarded a $3,000 grant to Junta in support of local relief efforts. Learn more about PLF's disaster relief efforts.

The ECHORN Hurricane Relief Fund was established to rebuild social services support for millions of affected Caribbean people.

This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.