Hurricane Maria aftermath Puerto Rico

Families in Puerto Rico are counting on us

Five years ago on World Habitat Day, President Carter wrote the essay excerpted below about his and Habitat for Humanity’s commitment to help rebuild Haiti after a devastating earthquake. While the particulars of the devastation in Puerto Rico — and in Texas, Florida and Mexico — are different, you’ll see that the underlying principles he shared at that time remain absolutely the same.

People’s lives have been turned upside down as disaster has damaged or destroyed the place they call home. Nowhere is this more evident than in Puerto Rico, where families deserve our help and our support in the challenges they now face. Decent and affordable housing will be a fundamental building block in Puerto Rico’s recovery – and we are all morally obligated to help.

Please join us as our response to the crisis in Puerto Rico begins in earnest, and as we continue to respond in affected communities in Texas, Florida and Mexico. Our ability to respond effectively depends on your support. Families are counting on us, and every one of them deserves a decent place to call home.

World Habitat Day: A Day to Recognize the Basic Need for Shelter

In the waning hours of a January afternoon, as children played after school and parents prepared to end their work days, Haiti was suddenly shaken forever by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. Lives were lost, communities destroyed. An already-challenged country instantly faced even greater odds. Nearly three years later, some progress has been made, but the fact that — unacceptably — hundreds of thousands of people still live in tents and makeshift shelters should shake the world community.

Imagine your daily life but with the added burdens of heightened exposure to the risk of disease, inadequate protection from the world around you and the threat of repeat displacement. Hurricane season only reminds us how precarious life is for families who still find themselves in this situation.

There is no easy fix, as Haiti’s complex history has undoubtedly shown. How much more so after such a devastating natural disaster has thrown the country’s communities into crisis?

Decent housing is a fundamental building block of sorely needed progress and stability in communities around the world. This is true anywhere, but comes into even sharper relief in areas devastated by disaster and conflict.

Read the full essay on