The Legal Empowerment Curriculum for Community Paralegals in Puerto Rico will provide 15 community stakeholders with tools to monitor, exercise and defend their right to housing, resist displacements, and promote legal efforts towards equitable development and climate justice. This program paves the way to socialize legal education and strategies, promote community paralegals in order to nurture grassroots power and continue the work towards just recovery in Puerto Rico
Lack of security of tenure and displacements places thousands of families at risk of losing their homes. High rents and mortgages, discrimination against those without formal titles, inadequate disaster assistance, speculation, and a worsening climate crisis increasingly challenges their right to stay and return home. The impact of this crisis affects historically marginalized groups like women, black communities, immigrants and elders. Inadequate access to justice fosters this power imbalance.
The displacement crisis roots in lack of power. People's lack of knowledge of their right to housing, due process and to demand accountability from banks, landlords and the governments leads to vulnerability, There are no enough affordable legal services to mediate the crisis and they often lead to dependency. Community paralegals are used globally to build power and promote an equitable field to defend rights. This project will place people in a better position to know and defend their rights.
We will develop capacity on 15 community paralegals from communities in Puerto Rico that are threatened by displacements due to climate change, governmental neglect, high rents and mortgages or insecurity of tenure. The Legal Empowerment Curriculum promotes popular legal literacy, participatory research skills, advocacy trainings and community-based legal efforts. These paralegals will accompany their communities and organizations towards equity. We will replicate the experience yearly.