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More New York students, volunteer workers help Puerto Rico homeowners after Hurricane Maria

By on July 16, 2018

SAN JUAN – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the deployment of more than 100 student and labor volunteers to Puerto Rico as part of the summer-long NY Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative.

The third wave of volunteers will join nonprofits to “clean, restore, and rebuild homes in an ongoing effort that has already helped dozens of homeowners in communities that continue to recover from hurricanes Irma and Maria,” a release issued by Cuomo’s office reads.

In all more than 500 SUNY and CUNY student volunteers, as well as dozens of labor volunteers will be assisting with recovery and rebuilding efforts throughout the summer.

The New York Daily News reports that Cuomo is demanding that the Trump administration pay his state for “helping Puerto Ricans displaced” by the hurricanes–referring to New York having welcomed 11,000 in the aftermath of the historic hurricane–”as retribution for its ‘failures’ in handling the island’s recovery.”

It quoted the governor as saying that the federal government “abandoned Puerto Rico in their time of need,” and that it is “time that the federal government took responsibility for the consequences of its actions and begin to rectify the grave injustice committed against the people of Puerto Rico.”

In his release Monday, Cuomo said: “With the federal government continuing to fail Puerto Rico, New York is once again showing up with hundreds of students and volunteers ready to help with the island’s ongoing rebuilding efforts.”

The volunteers will work with All Hands and Hearts, Heart 9/11, and NECHAMA. Student volunteers will deploy for two weeks and earn college credits. Volunteers with the New York Building and Construction Trades will deploy for one to two-weeks. “UNICEF USA has committed funding to support this effort,” the release adds.

New York Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative launched

Prior volunteer assistance from the state, deployed on July 1 and June 17, included about 100 SUNY and CUNY students and volunteers, and about 20 labor volunteers.

“With each deployment comes the return of SUNY students who overwhelmingly feel a sense of pride from volunteering. They are humbled by the experience, and have a greater perspective on what it means to provide this necessary public service,” SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson said in Cuomo’s release.

“The civic-mindedness, empathy and commitment of the 200 CUNY students who are spending their summer helping to rebuild Puerto Rico continues to fill us with pride. We are grateful to them for answering Governor Cuomo’s call to aid our fellow citizens with his New York Stands with Puerto Rico Recovery and Rebuilding Initiative,” Interim CUNY Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz added.

Since Maria hit, Cuomo has traveled to Puerto Rico four times. New York’s Empire State Relief and Recovery Effort has distributed “at least 4,400 pallets” of supplies collected from 13 donations sites in the state. New York also sent more than 1,000 personnel, including hundreds of utility workers and power experts to help with power restoration.

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