Building Resilience and Community in Puerto Rico

Carson Bear

National Trust for Historic Preservation

With Puerto Rico still reeling from Hurricane Maria, the community there faces an urgent need. During the storm, thousands of buildings—historic and new—lost their roofs. Fresh rain furthers damages to these places, delaying people’s return to their homes, businesses, and normal routines.

To address this need, the National Trust is working with our partner, Para La Naturaleza (Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico) to provide tarps to 200 homes and other buildings in Puerto Rico. Every donation of $75 will provide a tarp to an affected home or other building to protect it from the elements, slow the structural damage, and help our fellow citizens get back on their feet faster.

We sat down with Ivonne Sanabria Pérez, Heritage Coordinator of Para La Naturaleza, to talk more about the Tarps Campaign and how Puerto Rico is building resilience in the wake of tragedy.

As Puerto Rico begins rebuilding, what preservation needs are most important to address?

Right now, we are working together with over 50 Puerto Rican communities near our natural protected areas. Part of our funding is going towards helping community centers become oasis of resiliency to serve their residents’ needs. We’re getting them solar panels, water filters. We’ve already been working on that part of the relief effort.

For us, handing out food and water is over. We’ve moved onto the second phase, and we’re rebuilding; we want to build resilience within our communities.

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