Legal Empowerment to Stop Foreclosures Puerto Rico

by Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico
Legal Empowerment to Stop Foreclosures Puerto Rico
Legal Empowerment to Stop Foreclosures Puerto Rico
Legal Empowerment to Stop Foreclosures Puerto Rico
Legal Empowerment to Stop Foreclosures Puerto Rico
Legal Empowerment to Stop Foreclosures Puerto Rico
Legal Empowerment to Stop Foreclosures Puerto Rico
Legal Empowerment to Stop Foreclosures Puerto Rico
Legal Empowerment to Stop Foreclosures Puerto Rico

Project Report | Feb 28, 2020
Earthquakes, foreclosures and empowerment

By Ariadna Godreau Aubert | Executive Director

Since December 28th of last year, more than 500 new foreclosure complaints have been filed in local courts.  That date marks the beginning of a series of earthquakes that severely affected the Island, wreaking havoc across municipalities in the southern and mountainous central region. Those seismic events worsened the already precarious conditions of housing in Puerto Rico.  Thousands of families, unable, or afraid, to return to their homes, slept on the streets, in public squares and turned baseball parks into makeshift shelters. 

The earthquakes, however, did not stop legal summons from arriving in people’s mail. While subsisting on donations and without access to basic assistance, or afraid of further harm caused by subsequent seismic events, families continued to be summoned to court . Under these conditions, no one is able to adequately defend their rights. 

Days after the disasters, our Legal Empowerment Against Foreclosure (LEAF) program took to the streets, alerted the media, visited shelters and encampments, and collaborated with concerned institutions to advocate for the protection of the rights of families and individuals at risk of foreclosure. 

We gathered statistics to demonstrate the impact of foreclosures on a post disaster Puerto Rico. Lawyers supported by this project went to the camps and attended calls via hotlines to assist those summoned, or already undergoing cases, or those being asked for payments by their banks or at risk of not complying with their mortgage loans. We amplified concrete advocacy demands such as a request for financial institutions to offer voluntary and just moratoriums, demands to ensure the payment and response of insurance companies, a stop on the filing of complaints and more. These demands received extensive and rigorous press coverage. .

During the coming months we will be framing the disasters within the larger context of the structural vulnerability of families in Puerto Rico, attending specifically to women and elders. This will help visibilize the extent of the foreclosure crisis and its grave and now undeniable impact across the island population. Our goal is to provide platforms for support, accompaniment and transformation. Housing is a human right.

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Organization Information

Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico

Location: San Juan - Puerto Rico
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ayudalegalpr
Project Leader:
Ariadna Godreau
San Juan , PR Puerto Rico

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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