Jul 6, 2021

Six months into this process

Creating a community paralegal program in the intersectionality of displacements and the climate crisis is a challenge. At the same time, it's the potentiality of social transformation at a glance. For six months now, we have accompanied a group of 12 community leaders from Loíza in the process of education, "concientización", and advocacy training. Based on a map of the groups' needs and wants, tenure, climate change, and the lack of corporate (developers) accountability are at the root of their concerns. During this first phase, we have shared materials, workshops, and discussions as building blocks to understand how legal systems work and their role in perpetuating inequality. 

Meaningful conversations about who owns the land and who wants it, as well as discussions about reparations grounded on racist injustice, have been fundamental for our mutual learning. Dispossession and disinvestment are intrinsically linked to unequal development. Legal empowerment in the hands of the community may help transform this relationship. People who participate in this program want to regain their lands. 

During the following weeks, the community stakeholders will engage in workshops to nurture their research skills, complaint writing, and self-representation before administrative and judicial forums. The goal is to identify a legal issue that they want to prioritize and self-define the best legal course with our accompaniment. 

Once again, we thank our partners at El Ancón in Loíza. To learn more about this place's history, group, and advocacy asks, please visit this website. https://www.elancondeloiza.com

Apr 27, 2021

One moth till the next hurricane season*

June 1, 2021, marks the start of a new hurricane season. Many predict this will be an active season, a fact that's ever-present within a global climate crisis. Anxiety starts building up as uncertainty about the Government's disaster planning grows. Consequences of major hurricanes Irma and María, the impacts of the seismic events of 2020, and the pandemic are neglected and summed up. Housing insecurity is a reality for thousands living under blue tarps, insecure constructions, and dwellings that await disaster assistance. At the same time, families across the board are less likely to have the necessary funds to prepare for a disaster. For us, as legal responders aware of our ethical and political duty to accompany families while their demand their right to just recovery, it's our moment to get ready. We can only do that with your support.

In this brief report, I share with you some data to let you know how the first three months of 2021 are shaping this disaster legal aid project. I hope you can understand the needs and vulnerability and the interest of a whole population to recover equitably. I hope you decide to continue supporting us. 

As climate change continues to affect our Island through sea-level rise, flooding, more extreme atmospheric events, and droughts, disaster legal aid with a legal empowerment perspective is urgent.

This is how this projects 2021 is going.

  • Two hundred people received legal accompaniment through our helplines. These numbers include earthquakes and hurricane survivors, also people seeking assistance to receive public aid during the pandemic.
  • 145 participated in KYR workshops on rights and disasters, with a focus on housing.
  • 67% of the people who receive support from ALPR are women. 
  • Questions revolve around public assistance on employment, the need for transitory housing, public housing, and unresponded assistance requests.

During the next month, while we advocate for the Government to adopt a just recovery geared disaster plan, we will be hosting community workshops, free education for pro bono attorneys, and other opportunities to develop capacity towards this season. We will remain present at all times, thanks to your support.

Apr 23, 2021

Transition time: New Anti Foreclosure Project!

Its been a little more than a year since we started this fundraising to support our work against foreclosures. With your support, we are glad to announce that we have accomplished the goals set. We are ready to ask you to join us in a new journey towards legal empowerment and housing justice.

Its been a little more than a year since we started this fundraising to support our work against foreclosures. With your support, we are glad to announce that we have accomplished the goals set. We are ready to ask you to join us in a new journey towards legal empowerment and housing justice.

Today, as we transition to this new fundraiser, we acknowledge and celebrate how every cent allocated to this initiative translated into sustained legal support and empowerment. We can do so much with your help. Let's go quickly over some of our achievements for this term.

  • In 2020 we offered accompaniment to hundreds of families thanks to your support. This process did not pause because of earthquakes or the pandemic. Realizing that crisis increases the vulnerabilities of those who can't afford mortgages, we committed to being as present as possible.
  • We had 620 participants at our legal education and advocacy workshops.
  •  Because we decided to be present, we dedicated more resources to legal helplines, available all day every day. We provided direct individual support to 163 families, primarily women, and elders in Puerto Rico. 
  • We trained 64 attorneys committed to the right to housing.
  • We sustained continuous efforts to demand financial institutions' respect for human rights. We launched #JustMoratorium campaigns and educated people about the rights relating to foreclosures at times of crisis.
  • We were in media, a lot to denounce, demand, and celebrate significant wins on behalf of women and families with mortgages.
  • We promoted storytelling initiatives to tell people that they are not alone, that we are here to accompany them because you all make this possible. Remember Ritha's story and know more about the access to justice community

Together we can do much more. Please continue supporting Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico. You can find our new project on legal empowerment against foreclosures here.

Please keep in touch, let us know about your ideas and recommendations, help us be more effective, and most important: donate, support, trust.

 
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