FEMA to allocate $10 million dollars for elderly homes in Puerto Rico, three years after Hurricane Maria
The announcement comes just two weeks after Puerto Rico released a statement that FEMA will be allocating funds for fishermen in Puerto Rico.
It has been three years since Hurricane Maria swept Puerto Rico and destroyed the lives of millions of people.
Many of them were elderly.
According to the United States Census, by 2019 around 21.3% of Puerto Rico’s population was 65 and older.
Since then, few resources have been allocated to the island and people are still left wondering when their homes will be fixed and if things ever go back to the way things were before.
Three years later, some funds are trickling in.
It was announced on Jan. 25, that FEMA will be distributing $10 million dollars to nursing homes that affected by Hurricane Maria.
The money will be distributed to 24 separate facilities that were impacted by the natural disaster. The government will also give to seven other non-profit facilities.
The island is slowly being rebuilt after a series of earthquakes and further hurricanes, but largely without U.S. federal funding.
During a press conference announcing the $10 million allocation on Jan. 25, José Baquero Tirado, the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator for Puerto Rico and the U.S Virgin Islands believed that the funding was critical to start helping the elderly citizens of Puerto Rico, especially after three years of little relief.
“Older adults represent one of the most vulnerable populations during an emergency. It is imperative to take their needs into account during this historic recovery process,” he said.
Dr. Carmen Ana González Magaz, Family and Community Engagement Office Director for Puerto Rico’s Department of Education also believes that focusing on the elderly is a step in the right direction when it comes to rebuilding Puerto Rico.
She also expressed that she was looking forward to the long-awaited projects being finalized.
“However, we will continue to evaluate the improvement processes in these long-term care centers to continue ensuring the quality of life of this population,” added González Magaz.
One of the main facilities that will receive an abundance of money is the San Rafael Geriatric Center in Arecibo, a hospice facility administered by a volunteer board of directors and the Hijas de la Caridad nuns.
The center is one of the buildings that will need to replace its roof and re-seal its walls to ensure safety for the elderly who are in residence.
The money will also ensure that the elderly will have access to healthy and nutritious foods in the facilities, which will supply them with a better standard of living.
On top of that, these funds will also cover improvements to prevent future damage, such as installing electrical surge protectors and repairing gates.
Another facility that is in dire need of care is the Ryder Housing for the Elderly in Humacao, a 96-apartment building with 130 residents from different parts of Puerto Rico.
The announcement comes just two weeks after Puerto Rico released a statement that FEMA will be allocating funds for fishermen in Puerto Rico who were jobless because of the destruction of their villages.