Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's Conundrum: Shortage of Affordable Housing and Slow Reconstruction

As residents on the island face a wide range of housing needs, revitalizing "the social fabric" of every neighborhood is key, said Deepak Lamba-Nieves of the Center for a New Economy

Pedro Alejandro Granadillo Hernanadez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A growing affordable housing crisis and a slow post-hurricane reconstruction process have created a precarious situation for residents in Puerto Rico nearly five years after Hurricane Maria damaged 60 percent of occupied housing units on the island.

Now that local officials have access to $18.3 billion in federal housing recovery funds, the Puerto Rico-based nonpartisan think tank Center for a New Economy published an analysis Thursday suggesting that the best way to ensure that such funds are effectively invested toward addressing Puerto Rico's housing needs is by looking granularly and focusing on neighborhoods.

"That's how we can better serve the needs of a specific place, of a particular community," Deepak Lamba-Nieves, research director at the Center for a New Economy and co-author of the analysis, told NBC News in Spanish.

"That’s the difference between a reconstruction project that just seeks to build things versus a reconstruction project that seeks to rebuild and revitalize the social fabric of a neighborhood," he said.

Read the full story at NBCNews.com

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