| Feb 14, 2021
Housing is a human right. Protect it.
We launched this project, Legal Empowerment to Stop Foreclosures Puerto Rico, in December 2019. After dedicating two whole years to disaster legal aid and nearly four years to developing an anti-foreclosure program, we were asking ourselves how to sustain legal accompaniment at times of crisis. Participants of our workshops, people who called to our hotline or met us at community legal brigades, had just survived multiple disasters: 2017 hurricanes, unemployment, and the constant demands of financial institutions demanding unreal payments in exchange for housing. Little did we know that just months later, we would be facing earthquakes and a pandemic that would last nearly a year. Legal empowerment work regarding protections against foreclosure is now more urgent than ever. Your support has been instrumental. It is present on every phone call, every legal document we file, every workshop we carry out, and every piece of free legal education we share with a family desperately trying to keep their house. When we ask how we will sustain this work, till it is necessary, till it can empower and accompany those who fear homelessness because of foreclosures, every single one of your donations, emails, and support answers, "you will do it, with us. Thank you for accompanying Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico.
Since the last time we shared information about our impact, we have continued to assist people at risk of foreclosure using our helplines and education efforts. Just in 2021, we have provided free legal assistance to 37 people via our helplines. Thirty-eight individuals participated in our workshop on moratoriums and rights. A rise in concerns about the impending end of moratoriums and individuals' capacity to retain their homes is evident.
The context is not promising. Between January and September 2020, 897 homes were foreclosed. Between March 15 (when the COVID-19 quarantine started) and December 31, 2020, 257 new foreclosure cases were presented at the courts. The crisis doesn't stop because of disasters. It worsens.
We decided to keep this project open to let donors show their support during their first semester of 2021. We are about to secure the funding to continue the Legal Empowerment Program for a whole extra year, and we want to ask you to continue amplifying this call.