‘Now Is The Real Crisis’: Puerto Ricans Struggle For Disaster Aid

A survey of more than 2,000 people in all but one municipality on the island by the titleship clinic at the University of Puerto Rico School of Law found that 49 percent of residents have problems with their titles or lack titles.

Feature (Puerto Rico)

Carolina Bolado, Natalie Rodriguez
February 10, 2019

Tags: Disaster Recovery

Organizations mentioned/involved: Legal Assistance Clinic of the University of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Legal Services / Servicios Legales (SLPR)


The title trouble is one of the greatest barriers everyday Puerto Ricans face in rebuilding from Hurricane Maria, which wreaked unprecedented destruction across the island in September 2017 and threatens to overwhelm legal aid attorneys at a time when the need for legal assistance is expected only to increase.

Puerto Rico does not require local attorneys to log pro bono hours and has not been able to benefit from mainland attorneys wanting to offer help because of differences between the two legal systems.

“Now is the real crisis,” said Vivian Neptune Rivera, dean of the University of Puerto Rico’s law school, which runs a clinic for Maria-hit homeowners and is working on a long-term legal solution to the title issue. “Now you see the long-term effects of the hurricane.”