Posted on December 20, 2017
Gracias y gracias y gracias.
I wanted to post an update, just to let everyone who donated know what has been going on. We will be closing the fund officially with the end of 2017. We raised almost $14000 which lost about $500 to fees, but is soooo much money. The support was really mind-blowing, and I cannot describe the shock and gratitude we all have felt in response to y'all.
For transparency, I wanted to share a little about where that money has gone. Since October, we were able to bring and set up five people in Philadelphia from Puerto Rico. We were able to connect them with medical care and social services via Mazzoni Center. Everyone now has health insurance and food assistance in place, as well as a secure and comfortable place to live guaranteed for the next six months. They have been connected to legal support for attaining name changes or additional benefits if needed.
Our next steps are moving toward sustainability, getting jobs, English classes, a couple surgeries are coming, and building ways to support themselves long-term.
Honestly, we expected more people to come, but those who could stay or find their own way, did. The folks who took advantage of our program turned out to be the absolute highest need, referred mainly from either social workers and/or the Hope Clinic, who has been doing most of the LGBTQ community survival work in Puerto Rico.
We bought 10 plane tickets in total, donated travel expenses to the Trans Task Force, who travelled from town to town on the island collecting information and connecting LGBTQ people to medicine and services like Hope Clinic. The rest of the money has/will be going to rent and additional support for basic needs that come up until evacuees are able to be self-sustaining.
This was a serious learning curve, and I think we just started to get the hang of it, now that we are wrapping up. The trauma of what has and is continuing to happen in Puerto Rico is and has been pretty debilitating. It has also been an incredible coming together, and a real effort of love.
I am available to talk more if you are curious about more details, but mainly, I just wanted to thank you one more time on behalf of the evacuees, and Raquel and I.
Puerto Rico is still in serious need of support. There is still an absence of every kind of resource throughout the island. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you would like to know other places to donate to.
In gratitude and solidarity,
Allison y Raquel