NLIHC will honor Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico at our 41st Annual Housing Leadership Awards Celebration on Wednesday, March 22, from 6:30 to 8 pm at the Hilton Washington DC Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington, D.C. The organization will receive the 2023 Sheila Crowley Housing Justice Award for its persistent efforts to ensure a just recovery – including access to safe and affordable housing – in the aftermath of numerous disasters. Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico is a non-profit organization that provides free legal education to groups and communities in the defense of fundamental rights – especially the right to housing. The award is named for former NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley, who led NLIHC for more than 17 years. The celebration will also honor John Parvensky and Representative Cori Bush (D-MO). Donate to NLIHC in these leaders’ honor as an individual or as an organization.
Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico provides free, accessible legal education and support to low-income individuals and communities in Puerto Rico to defend their human rights and ensure access to justice and an equitable disaster recovery. Through social impact advocacy and a deep-seated belief that impacted communities are best positioned to advocate for a dignified life, Ayuda Legal has helped communities across Puerto Rico access the tools and expertise needed to fight for housing justice.
Ayuda Legal emerged out of the initial response to Hurricanes Maria and Irma, which devastated the island of Puerto Rico in late 2017. Hurricane Maria destroyed an estimated 786,000 homes, and infrastructure costs related to the hurricane’s impact have amounted to nearly $100 billion. Despite this devastating toll, nearly 58% of the 1.1 million requests for assistance submitted to FEMA were denied, and in February 2020 – nearly two and a half years after the hurricane made landfall in Puerto Rico – between 15,000 and 18,000 families were still living under blue tarps. The impact of Hurricane Fiona, which struck late last year, showed that many of the problems plaguing the federal response to Hurricane Maria have still not been addressed and that numerous barriers to assistance remain in place.
Ayuda Legal lends legal support to thousands of disaster survivors each year and leads advocacy efforts around disaster assistance and recovery funds in Puerto Rico while also advocating for affordable, resilient housing infrastructure on the island. The organization pushes for the deep structural changes necessary to ensure that the needs of those most impacted by disasters and with the fewest resources for recovery are at the center of disaster preparation and mitigation and that the lessons learned during the recovery process in Puerto Rico are shared across the country and the world.
The dedicated advocates of Ayuda Legal provide lifesaving support to the people of Puerto Rico and fight every day to ensure people have safe, resilient homes and communities. What’s more, they have gone about their work with grace, poise, intentionality, and a fire that serves as a model for anyone seeking to do similar work in their own community. NLIHC is honored to present this year’s Sheila Crowley Leadership Award to Ayuda Legal!
In addition to recognizing Ayuda Legal, NLIHC will present John Parvensky with the 2023 Cushing Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award for his longstanding leadership in the fight for housing and health care justice and equity as an advocate, a supportive housing developer, and a provider of health care for the homeless. As CEO of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless for the past 37 years, he led the development of more than 2,000 supportive housing units. The Dolbeare Lifetime Service Award is named for NLIHC’s founder, Cushing Niles Dolbeare, a pioneer of the affordable housing movement. Representative Cori Bush will receive the 2023 Edward W. Brooke Housing Leadership Award for leading a movement to guarantee housing for all. In her first term in Congress, she introduced legislation to end homelessness by 2025, led a demonstration on the steps of the U.S. Capitol that successfully called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to extend the eviction moratorium, and introduced legislation to permanently implement an eviction moratorium throughout the pandemic. The Brooke award is named for Senator Edward Brooke (R-MA), who as a U.S. senator and later as chair of the NLIHC board of directors championed low-income housing.
Recognize these outstanding leaders by making a donation to NLIHC in their honor! Donate to NLIHC in these leaders’ honor as an individual or as an organization. Your donation will be recognized in the Leadership Awards Celebration program, and your contribution will support NLIHC’s mission to achieve racially and socially equitable public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes have quality homes that are accessible and affordable in communities of their choice. Information about how to register to attend the Housing Leadership Awards Celebration is forthcoming. To learn more about the awards and for event updates, please visit: http://bit.ly/3TR14oN