A Helping Hand in Puerto Rico Plus Housing Experts Address Emergency Preps: The Newest B'nai B'rith Podcast
(Washington, D.C., May 22, 2019)—“What can we do to help Puerto Rico?” was the question that inspired B’nai B’rith to hold its annual housing meeting and day of service on the island still struggling after September 2017’s Hurricane Maria.
On the newest B’nai B’rith International Podcast, CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin talked with our three guests about some of the take-aways from the annual B’nai B’rith Managers and Service Coordinators Training meeting, which took place May 14th to May 16th in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
As Janel Doughten, associate director of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Senior Services, noted: “We could learn from providers...they could help us formulate our emergency preparedness plans.” Evan Carmen, assistant director for Aging Policy, mentioned that the overall theme and importance of the gathering was emergency preparedness, which includes not just getting ready in advance, but being ready to deal with the aftermath of whatever disaster has come through.
The meeting, geared toward the needs of on-site building staff and focusing on the issues that impact the day to day activities of staff and residents in our affordable housing buildings, also featured a day of service, subsidized by the B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Fund and working in conjunction with José Andrés’s charity, the World Central Kitchen. Gracie Cohen, B’nai B’rith’s Center for Senior Services program associate, noted that the farm work the B’nai B’rith team of 33 provided in four hours would have taken the regular farm staff two to three days to complete at Siembre Tres Vidas, a farm in the mountains outside San Juan, where the team of volunteers planted seedlings, mulched and watered the land.
After the day of service, participants were immersed in learning about emergency preparedness, federal housing policy, aging in place and smart financial management from a series of panels. Presenters included staff from the B’nai B’rith Center for Senior Services, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, experts in affordable senior housing and professionals from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Doughten concluded the podcast: “That’s the great thing about being part of B’nai B’rith: We are not just a senior housing provider. We are B’nai B’rith International, with this whole community service part of us and it brings something extra and it’s very special.”
To listen to the full podcast, click here.