More than 50 volunteers from State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) are traveling to Puerto Rico to clean, restore and rebuild the homes damaged during Hurricane Maria in 2017.
A part of the 2019 New York Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative, recently announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, the volunteers will work with various non-profit partners.
“New York has stood with Puerto Rico since day one, and we will not leave our fellow Americans behind while the federal government continues to ignore their needs,” Governor Cuomo said.
“This new deployment of volunteers will not only help rebuild the island stronger and more resilient than before, it will provide much-needed mental health support to individuals still suffering from the trauma of the disaster and Washington’s ineffective response.”
The year, Cuomo plans to send at least 500 volunteers from both of the universities to the Caribbean island devastated by Hurricanes Maria and Irma. Last year 650 students along with labor volunteers took part in additional efforts to rebuild the island. The volunteers restored 178 homes after spending 41,000 hours to clean and rebuild the homes.
“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, a long-standing partnership has been fostered to continue the state’s Puerto Rico recovery and rebuilding initiative,” SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said.
“This sets a positive example for our students, encouraging them to think of others and commit their time and energy toward public service. I am proud of our SUNY and CUNY students and other volunteers who will start 2019 representing New York State as we help our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.”
Later this year, a small team from both the universities, along with UNICEF USA, will also work on expanding trauma-informed mental health support by bringing together different organizations and experts.