Community Development Corporations and Reconstruction Policy in Puerto Rico
After the destruction caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and the earthquakes of January 2020, community-based organizations (CBOs) in Puerto Rico (PR) intensified their activity in accessing economic and capacity-building resources allocated by the federal government. This investigation of twelve case studies of Puerto Rican community development corporations (PRCDCs) addresses several critical questions relevant to the reconstruction of the island. First, why should policy makers explicitly involve PRCDCs in the short-term and long-term reconstruction of communities in the island? Second, what are PRCDCs currently doing in Puerto Rican communities, and what can we learn from them? Third, what are the challenges faced by PRCDCs in participating effectively in the future recovery and reconstruction at local, municipal, and regional levels? Our findings indicate that the prevailing narrative of centralized post-disaster planning and government recovery policy underestimates the PRCDCs’ experience and capabilities. While PRCDCs might have limited experience with specific federal funding and programs, they have accumulated legitimate experience in implementing projects with state and federal agencies. PRCDCs have the entrepreneurial drive, and the professional, community-based talent, to participate directly in the reconstruction of communities and municipalities. PRCDCs’ collective experience represents a strong foundation from which it is possible to “scale-up from the bottom-up” the processes of reconstruction and resilience-building.
community development corporations, disasters, housing, Puerto Rico, reconstruction
Borges-Méndez, Ramón, "Community Development Corporations and Reconstruction Policy in Puerto Rico" (2020). International Development, Community, and Environment. 40.