Habitat for Humanity International and AbbVie celebrate successes of five-year partnership in Puerto Rico

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Partnership focused on long-term recovery efforts in Puerto Rico following hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017

ATLANTA – RealEstateRama — Habitat for Humanity International and AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, announced today the completion of their successful five-year partnership that supported the global housing nonprofit organization’s long-term disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.

In 2018, AbbVie announced a $50 million donation to help Habitat address critical shelter needs across Puerto Rico in response to the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria. The funds donated by AbbVie enabled Habitat to work directly with hurricane-affected families and communities to strengthen and improve access to housing for more than 19,000 people through home repairs and new construction, workforce training, household and community capacity building and assistance with clearing property titles.

“AbbVie is committed to supporting the unmet needs of communities and driving resiliency,” said Claudia Carravetta, president of the AbbVie Foundation and vice president of corporate responsibility and global philanthropy at AbbVie. “We are grateful we could partner with Habitat for Humanity to fund the repair of homes, support construction workforce development, and enable affordable and safe housing for communities across Puerto Rico.”

Hurricanes Maria and Irma caused unprecedented damage to homes across the island. With AbbVie’s support, Habitat completed more than 800 construction projects in 22 municipalities, including Adjuntas, Cabo Rojo, Jayuya, Patillas, Ponce, and San Juan. The projects included 776 home repairs and 29 new home construction and rehabilitations, with 10 additional multi-family rehabbed units to be completed by the end of the summer.

According to the Puerto Rico Planning Society, it was estimated that 260,000 homes, representing 1.3 million people, were built without clear title or proper permits at the time of the hurricanes, leaving residents to face significant barriers to home repairs or receiving other aid. The funding from AbbVie enabled Habitat to work with the Puerto Rican government and local legal aid organizations to develop long-term housing solutions that would help families obtain appropriate legal documentation to their land. Through the partnership, more than 600 families received legal services to clear their title or enable them to provide formal proof of ownership.

Following the destruction of the 2017 hurricanes, the island needed to increase its construction industry workforce to support rebuilding efforts. With the support of AbbVie,  Habitat for Humanity Puerto Rico established the Habitat Builds Puerto Rico workforce program, a five-week program that provides hands-on training to students entering the construction field to help rebuild homes and communities. Students receive instruction on plumbing, masonry, electrical work, carpentry, measurements and blueprints, health and safety, and receive career counseling. As of November 2023, 385 students have graduated from the program.

“Over six years ago the island of Puerto Rico was devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria, leaving millions of people and their families in unthinkable and vulnerable situations,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “Habitat for Humanity has a strong track record of providing long-term disaster recovery support to communities, but we know we cannot do it alone. Our five-year partnership with AbbVie demonstrated what a true and successful collaboration between the nonprofit sector, the private sector and the public sector looks like, and we are proud of the achievements we’ve made to help Puerto Ricans and their families build back stronger and more resilient than before. We are grateful to AbbVie for their support of our work and our mission of building homes, communities, and hope.”

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity found its earliest inspirations as a grassroots movement on an interracial community farm in south Georgia. Since its founding in 1976, the Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand up partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

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