From Recovery to Resilience:

Strengthening communities in Puerto Rico through health care and housing

Resolve in the Face of Devastation

In less than one month last year, everything changed in Puerto Rico. Two storms knocked the wind out of the vibrant island community, leaving unparalleled destruction in its path. It has taken many more months to understand the extent of the damage and will take years to rebuild.

Through a combined $100 million donation to Direct Relief and Habitat for Humanity International, AbbVie will accelerate recovery efforts still underway following the devastating impact to the community of Hurricanes Irma and Maria— moving Puerto Rico from recovery to resilience.

The donations of $50 million to each organization will focus on two building blocks of society – healthcare and housing:

  • Direct Relief will rebuild and strengthen Puerto Rico’s primary healthcare system, prioritizing 24 community health centers and community health provider organizations.
  • Habitat for Humanity will partner directly with hurricane-affected families to address their shelter needs, as well as work toward policies and systems that will improve shelter, land and resilience issues across the island. Habitat expects to directly assist 13,000 people through repairs, new construction, workforce training and assistance with clear property titles.

Read: AbbVie Donates $100 Million to Strengthen Access to Healthcare, Housing for Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico

AbbVie has a longstanding commitment to the people of Puerto Rico – operating on the island for nearly 50 years and serving as one of Puerto Rico’s largest private employers with more than 1,200 employees.

Below: Puerto Rico employees volunteer at local schools in Barceloneta and San Juan during AbbVie’s annual Week of Possibilities, where employees around the globe take time away from their jobs to enrich the communities where they live and work.

Following the unprecedented disasters of 2017, AbbVie Foundation and AbbVie employees provided over $4 million to support disaster relief efforts, including those that struck Puerto Rico.

Our Partner: Direct Relief

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Direct Relief has provided over 247 tons of requested medicine and medical supplies to 61 healthcare sites across the island. With the donation, Direct Relief will support these facilities that care for a combined 352,000 residents across Puerto Rico. Learn more about how Direct Relief will implement this work with health centers over the next three years. 

Direct Relief is the largest source of private/nongovernmental support for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in the United States, providing donations of medications and medical supplies from healthcare companies for the benefit of patients with low incomes and without insurance.

Learn more about how Direct Relief mobilized medical resources to help Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, how they’ve continued to support local health centers.

Direct Relief followed Yesenia Ortiz and her family after their home in Arroyo was badly damaged when Hurricane Maria swept through the mountainous community. See how they were impacted and why Yesenia’s job at a local health clinic is critical to the family and her community.

Our Partner: Habitat for Humanity

Weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall, Habitat distributed 2,000 shelter repair kits and solar kits in 11 locations across the island as a first step in response. In partnership with Save the Children, Habitat distributed kits to families in Caguas, Santa Isabel, Coamo, Arroyo, Guayama, Salinas, Patillas, Orocovis, Loiza, Humacao and Vieques to make immediate repairs to their damaged homes. Habitat also distributed 2,000 solar kits for families that lacked access to electricity. Habitat for Humanity of Puerto Rico has been building and repairing homes in the U.S. territory since 1997.

Through AbbVie's donation, over the next five years Habitat for Humanity will partner directly with hurricane-affected families to address their shelter needs, as well as work with the Puerto Rican government and local municipalities toward policies and systems that will improve shelter, land and resilience issues across the island.

Habitat expects to directly assist 13,000 people through repairs, new construction, workforce training and assistance with clear property titles. Through its work to effect policy and systems reforms, Habitat also expects to make significant progress in aiding many of the estimated 1.3 million Puerto Ricans who live in housing that was built without clear title or proper permits. Those residents face significant barriers to construction and repairs as well as assistance from other sources of aid. Learn more about Habitat's hurricane recovery efforts and details about their work in Puerto Rico over the next five years.  

To learn more about applying for assistance, please visit habitat.org/puertorico or call 1-855-242-0005.

Habitat Puerto Rico executive director Amanda Silva shares the heartbreak of what has happened on the island she calls home — and the hope that Habitat’s shelter repair kits and long-term recovery work will bring to families there.