Solving Puerto Rico’s Housing Crisis

The Way of the Saints explores the surprising grace of magic found in words and the redemptive power of stories…

Especially after Hurricane Maria, my novel The Way of the Saints addresses the oppressive relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico, and it challenges the old narratives of Puerto Rican history. With the emerging interest in ancient spiritual practices in popular culture, it asks the much-needed questions about the fine line between dominance and surrender, empowerment and manipulation.   

The novel explores how religious and superstitious narratives, along with over five hundred years of colonization has shaped the Puerto Rican experience. It is an exploration of identity and self-determination from oppressive regimes, hungry spirits, and dominating mothers.

Desiring to help rebuild Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria and the recent earthquakes, I am partnering with Konti Design Build Studio to create sustainable and resilient communities. Konti uses shipping containers as base structures to create affordable housing, schools, and multi-use facilities that are resilient to adverse climate conditions. I was first introduced to their creative solutions when their founder Carla Gautier was featured on CNN in Champions for Change. Konti was founded by Carla, a third generation Puerto Rican architect, and she is dedicated to building environmentally conscious homes in Puerto Rico that are earthquake proof and hurricane proof. I’m delighted to support her efforts by donating the first year of my book sales to Konti Design.

Please join me this holiday season by contributing to their GoFundMe campaign to build sustainable homes for families in need.

Carla Gautier

Carla and her family have dedicated their skills to rebuilding Puerto Rico. They are transforming shipping containers and designing homes that are affordable, safe, and sustainable. Their goal is to build 100 units a month using local materials and local labor. They are building with the next generation in mind, and I hope you’ll help. Check out the CNN article about Konti as well as the full clip from Champions for Change below.

Causa Local, a global non-profit assisting small businesses in Puerto Rico provides Kiva PR Loans to Puerto Rican small businesses like Konti. Their founder, Ana María Cintrón and her team are inspirational. They’ve helped deploy over $1 million in loans to over 200 entrepreneurs to support the local Puerto Rican economy. Consider Holiday Shopping using their Christmas Catalog of Puerto Rican businesses.

With the help of a no-interest loan from Causa Local, Konti Design Build Studio is building the first sustainable radio studio for Radio Youcana TV after they lost everything during the earthquakes that hit Yauco in 2020. They could use your help!

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Elizabeth Engelman was awarded the 2019 Nilsen Literary Prize from Southeast Missouri State University Press and the 2017 Emerging Writer Award from the Key West Literary Seminar. Her essays have been published in The New York Times and Endeavor Magazine, a publication of the American Society for Deaf Children. She received her MFA from the University of Tampa, where she was honored with the Outstanding Graduate Award. She also holds an MA in Poetry from Lancaster University.

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