The people of Puerto Rico have had their lives turned upside down in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. Countless have lost apartments, jobs, and medications and struggle in the midst of this crisis to take care of their health. And hundreds of thousands remain without power and water as of publication.
The storm’s destruction piled on top of vulnerabilities that already existed on the island that still have not been addressed since Hurricane Maria devastated the island five years ago. Communities in the south and west of Puerto Rico continue to experience earthquakes. The damage piles on top of itself, compounding the devastation of Hurricane Fiona.
But what we’ve heard from our grantees and partners across the island is inimitable strength and resilience. In the wake of systemic failures and inaction, Puerto Ricans are stepping forward to take care of each other. Organizations serving people living with and vulnerable to HIV across the island are finding ways to stay open and continue to provide life-saving services amid widespread power and water outages.
We want to take this moment to uplift organizations in the AIDS United network across the island.
- Bill’s Kitchen Inc. provides free food and medical nutrition therapy to people living with HIV & AIDS.
- Centro Ararat Inc. provides HIV and other health services in clinics located in Ponce, Juana Díaz, San Juan and Arecibo.
- Coalición de Coaliciones Pro Personas sin Hogar de PR Inc. provides services and support for unhoused people across the island, with facilities located in Ponce and Caguas.
- El Punto en la Montaña Inc. is a harm reduction organization serving people who use drugs in Caguas, Cayey, Cidra, Comerio, Aguas Buenas and Guayama.
- Iniciativa Comunitaria De Investigación Inc. is an HIV-service organization that provides support and services for marginalized groups in Puerto Rico.
- Intercambios Puerto Rico is a harm reduction organization that supports people who use drugs, those unhoused and sex workers “through service, education, advocacy, research programs and activities.”
- La Fondita de Jesús provides services for unhoused and vulnerable people in Puerto Rico.
- Lucha Contra el SIDA Inc. is an HIV service organization that serves low-income people, unhoused people, people with disabilities, older adults and those living with HIV, among other marginalized groups.
- Migrant Health Center Inc. provides accessible health services to communities on the western side of the island.
- Proyecto Amor Que Sana Inc. is a community-based organization providing services to people in need in the south of the island.
- Puerto Rico CoNCRA provides HIV services and support to communities on the island.
- Taller Salud Inc. is a community-based organization dedicated to “improving women’s access to health care, to reducing violence within the community and to encourage economic growth through education and activism.”
- Waves Ahead, which manages SAGE Puerto Rico and its LGBTQ senior community center, provides a wide variety of services and support to LGBTQ older adults and marginalized communities across the island.
As we said in our hurricane preparedness resource: Disasters are not isolated events. They happen in the same political, historical and socioeconomic environment in which health disparities already exist.
Marginalized communities are hit hardest when disaster strikes. It’s up to us to act.
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