We are excited to announce that Hogar de Ayuda El Refugio, a Puerto Rico based nonprofit that provides temporary residence and health services to women and children, has just been awarded $2.5 million dollars by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. These funds are part of the Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery that had been allocated to Puerto Rico. The funds were made available through a competitive grant process managed by the Social Interest Housing Program. The focus of this Program is to increase, create or expand existing housing solutions across Puerto Rico through providing grant funds to Non-profit, Non-Governmental Organizations that demonstrate eligible activities for approved program projects serving highly vulnerable populations. The Puerto Rico Public and Applied Social Sciences Workshop (PR PASS Workshop, hereafter), through their Technical Assistance Program, provided Hogar de Ayuda El Refugio support along the way.
In February 2020, Hogar de Ayuda El Refugio, a nonprofit provides temporary residence and health services to women and children, approached the Puerto Rico Public and Applied Social Sciences Workshop with a request for technical suppport. Their goal was to apply to a variety of federal grant opportunities that aimed to strengthen the emergency network of shelters and build new social interest housing. In the past, hiring an independent consultant had cost them $30,000, at present, such an investment was out of their reach. After an initial review of their plans and the opportunities, Hogar de Ayuda El Refugio received the support they needed from our Technical Assistance Program. Over the next several months, James O'Malley, MSW, met with María Ramos, Executive Director of the Hogar on several ocassions. They attended federal program orientations together, reviewed requirements and strategies and collaborated until successfully submitting 2 different proposals. In March 2021, María Ramos called us with the good news, the Hogar's work plan for the development of social interest housing had been selected for funding.
In May 2021 the announcement was made official: