Housing for the Poor – Arecibo PR


The PRRA carried out slum clearance work and built hurricane-proof housing developments in Arecibo and Ponce.

“The PRRA located nine parcels of land available to purchase in Ponce, and two in Ponce Playa, and began construction on 4,290 concrete houses in Ponce and Ponce Playa. Built to house over 21,000 people, the PRRA also constructed an nearby incinerating plant, concrete storm sewers, new water supply system, and temporary workingmen’s residencies (for PRRA construction workers) as part of the Ponce slum clearance project.”1

The PRRA created housing programs across the Island, as described in the 1938 Annual Report of the Department of the Interior: “The development of that part of the urban housing program of the P. R. R. A. originally aimed for the elimination of unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions, for the provision of decent, safe, and sanitary dwellings for families of low income, and for the reduction of unemployment and the stimulation of business activity, was continued during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1938. Inasmuch as the funds originally allotted were not sufficient to accomplish the demolition and clearance of the existing slum areas, it was deemed advisable from the beginning to apply the funds to the construction of the tenement group, project A, situated at Barrio Miranda, San Juan, and for the partial construction of the Eleanor Roosevelt and Juan Morel Campos developments located in Hato Rey, a suburb of Rio Piedras, and Barrio Canas, Ponce, respectively. Eight hundred and eleven units were finished during the fiscal year, including the partial completion of the utilities comprised in the whole program, which ultimately is to consist of 3,004 living units.”2

Source notes

1. Burrows, Geoff, 2014, The New Deal in Puerto Rico: Public Works, Public Health, and the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration, 1935-1955, p. 138, doctoral dissertation, The City University of New York, (https://www.academia.edu/24667667/THE_NEW_DEAL_IN_PUERTO_RICO_PUBLIC_WORKS_PUBLIC_HEALTH_AND_THE_PUERTO_RICO_RECONSTRUCTION_ADMINISTRATION_1935-1955), accessed on April 27, 2017; and Adolfo Noñes, “Slums and Settlements,”February, 24, 1936, Box 2, Ponce Slum Clearance Division, Records of the Engineering Division, RG 323, NARA-NYC, cited in Burrows, The New Deal in Puerto Rico.
2. Annual Report of the Department of the Interior, For the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1938, By United States. Dept. of the Interior, Washington: 1938.

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on April 28, 2017.

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Location Info

Arecibo, PR

Coordinates: 18.444247, -66.64640680000002

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