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Con. ten ts PAGE


G ene ral Data of Puerto Rico The Probl e m of Housing in Puerto Rico


The Social Programs Administration of the De partment of Agriculture and Commerce


The Dramatic Experiment in The Rural Community


San JosĂŠ,. 6

Mutual Aid and Self-Help


Ex amples of Mutual Aid in Housing Construction in Urban Are as


Accomplishments, Aims and Projections




P. B. Vazquez C~lcerroda DATA




~er~ico , with a limited territorial extension of 3,400 square miles (8704 square kilometers), limited rural resources, and a high population density of 666 inhabitants per square mile (257 inhabitants per square kilometer) is COl~'lpelled to use all its in:ren: tive skill , to increase its efficiency in allproauction levels, and to tFv'eWoffie its own limitations, in order to meet the ~h and ambi!iOU;? goals it.!._a~ s~t for itself.

Within this framework of limitations , ithas beenpossible to develop a careful program, scientüically planned, in which all necessary and essential elements have been taken into consideration to attain the social and economic improvement of the population. A remarkable governmental organization composed of many official bodies and corporations in which such agencies as the Planning Board, the Bureau of the Budget and the Personnel Office, all attached to the Office of the Governor are outstanding, has achieved definite improvement. The progress attained in the 1 fields of health, of public education at all levels, industrial development, working conditions , agricultura, electrical services, water, roads and highways , and other means of communication, in recreation and many others , are the best evidence of the sincere interest of the government in solving, within its limited resources, the numerous problems which beset its dynamic society. JI 1

Executive Dir ector of the Social Program Administration of the Department of Agricultura and Commerce. The author wishes to acknowledge and thank Messrs. Fabián Orta, Luis A. Dávila, Rafael Bonnet, José G. Gracia, for their cooperation in the preparation of information and data; Lorenzo Mufioz Morales, for his excellent ideas on the content of this publication; and José M. RÍos, Chief of the Department of Economics and Rural Sociology of the Agricultura! Experim ental Station, for bis valuable help in editing this work. To Miss Carmen Luz Sandih, bis gratitude for her cooperation in the typing work. The translation of this paper to English has been possible, thanks to the cooperation o! Urban Renewal and Housing Corporation of Puerto Rico.



It is generally accepted by everyone that in spite of the tremen-

dous effort made by the government, there is still a great job ahead. What r emains to be done is even more difficult than what h as b een accomplished. Housing is without question one of the fields requiring a great deal of attention, a .complex problem which needs special approach and solution. Tbe government is aware of this fact, therefore, it is trying its best to• salve it.





The shelter - the house - is one of man 's basic needs. No matter at which time or place, or the material of whicb it is buil~, roan must provide a sbelter to establisb bis borne. The family and tbe home are bis bulwark, bis last refuge, his innermost r world and bis security. His borne is bis most valued treasure, no matter its nature; it could be a mansion or a jumbled shack in ruins. Unfortunately, in Puerto Rico, as in all parts of the world, with rare exceptions , bousing constitutes one of the social problems of greatest importance. In tbe country, as in tbe cities, tbousands of families live in inadequate, crowded and unsanitary houses, in open violation of tbe most elementary L principies of good living. It is estimated tbat there are in Puerto Rico, approximately

225,000" inadequar;- an'd'diiaPictated dwelling units, of w)!ic,!} 125,000 are located in the urban areas - cities and townsand 100,000 in tbe rural areas. Due to tbe undesirable elements in most arge famifies- -- crowded conditions, pbysical tightness, lack of adequate sanitary and other services -- tbe problem in tbe urban areas acquires more importance and cbaracterizes it as most far-reaching.




Only a few years ago, the philosopby was that the houses inhabited by low income families was a personal problem whose solution was their exclusive concern as their economic means permitted. Fortunately, more progressive governments with a socially minded program see the housing proble m as one pertaining to the whole society and ar e conscious of its harmful effects in other phases of community life, - moral, healt h, economy, culture , etc. This new s ocial approacb to tbe problem leads to the sea rch for m e ans and m ethods to analyze it, evaluate its intensity , find solutions, and put an end to its undesirable and anti-social effects in a good com munity life.


In most ins tances the housing proble m has been attacked by well known conventional means : by action of prívate enterprise, and efforts, m or e or l ess effective , of the government. In Puerto Rico, in spite of the energetic action of prívate contractors in the construction of modern residential housing with ade quat e f acilities , the problem of housi ng low income families is still unsolved. 2/ Obviously, the traditional methods of construction and financing are not availabl e to low income families .

The government of Pue rto Rico h as al so invested considerable sums to build public housing for low income families who live in slums and other undesirable areas. So far, 21,466 public hous ing units have been built (Federal and Commonwealth) . 3/ However, notwithstanding the efforts of both prívate enter prise and the government, will not be possible to salve the p roblem '1 of housing of the great mass of the population using traditional methods , expensive and entirely outside the r each of poor fami - .J lies as they are.


Any efforts , the refore, that may be made and, partic ularly , any program that offers good possibilities of solution deserve the most careful consideration. After studying t he two conventional m ethods r eferred to above, '1 it is proper to investigat e the extent to which the system of commun!!J action, b e tter known as self-help and mutual help, will make U possibl e to salve the housing problem of the masses with a mínimum cost to the government. Before pro- ~ ceeding with the analys is, however , it is advisable to record here the work being done by the government to provide rural families with a p ar ee! of land on which to build their homes. This is, undoubte dly , a first step in the solution of the housing proble m in the rural ar eas.









The Social Programs Administration, here inafter referred to as SPA, is the government agency that has been most influential in trying to salve the rural housing problem. 2/It is estim ated that du::ring the l ast 10 years, a total of 43,481 houses were built by prívate enterprises. 3/ Annual Repor t, 1958-59, Urban Renewal Corporation.




Based on a philosophy of deep social significance, the program of planned rural communities offers the rural worker the best opportunity to own in usufruct for life a piece of land where he may build bis borne, feel secure, and enjoy sorne essential public services denied to him so far.

When the agrarian legislation of 1941 was passed, a program was adopted in the Land Autho.,rity of Puerto Rico to establish planned rural communities for the purpose of resettling more than 100,000 families of rural workers who lived in "agrego "4/ throughout the rural areas. Later, in 1948, a reorganization took place by legislativa action, creating the SPA under the Department of Agricultura and Commerce. Following a master plan adopted jointly by officials of the Planning Board and the SPA great progress has been made in the establishr ment of rural communities for the benefit of the "agregados "• The last Annual Report of theSPA states that as of December 30, 1959 a total of 299 rural communities had been established, providing 50,681 parcels for families and 4,390 for utilities and public ser'- vices. 5/ Each one of the se rural communities is the result of a careful study and detailed analysis in accordance with the most modern planning techniques. The number of parcels devoted to families in a community varies from 75 to 500. The size of a paree! is from 0.25 to 3 cuerdas. 6/ Streets 13 meters in width, and land for active and passive recreation, as well as for public services and other activities o f the community are provided. 71 4/

In Spanish "agrego" is said of a worker who lives and works

in a farro, but who does not own the land on which bis borne is built. Frequently, he do es not own the house in which he lives, either. 5/

See Appendix 1, Map of Puerto Rico where the rural communities established by Municipalities are located.


One "cuerda" is equivalent to 0.97 of an acre.


See Appendix 2, Typical design of a planned rural community.


A Great Social Change The regrouping in pl anned communitie s of the laborer and bis family has been one of the main factors r esponsible for the improvement in the levels and standards of living in the rural communities. Many services, suc h as drinking water , electric lights and schools are provided. These improvements have caused great transformations in the levels of living and a spirations of the rural families .


Howeve_r, the greatest achievement, the mos t significant and dram~tlC . change that has taken place in the rural population dwelhng m communities has been of a s ocial nat ure. In developing a g enuine sense of cornmunity among the families through the combined efforts of different institutions and groups as well as through the influence of professional le aders hip , great changes in attitudes and in the philosophy of the people have t~en place. This edycational process , gene r ally s low in a soc_Iety, has been markedly rapid in the case of pl anned communitles • This phenomenon m ay be par tly at tributed to the intensive work of SPA personnel such as rural sociologists, borne impr ove ment specialists, social workers health educators and agrono- ' mists. ' Achievements The accomplishments of the r esettled f amilies that best r e- l

fle~ their changes in attitudes may be appreci ated in the com-

m.Jill.i.ty_ action.-progum undertake n through thei:r:._ c~er a I_!.e an;!_yol~oxts. Based on the awar e ness of their needs. the neighbors themselves have ctetermined, on a priority basis, which aspect of improvement of the community they wish t o ~dertake. With due orientation, guidance and technic al direchon, the families have solved m any of the numerous problem s t?at beset them. Of a l ong list of achievem ents a few are m entwned: construction of community centers, cl assrooms, l unch rooms, children 's breakfast stations , privys , s treet repairs and pavement, maintenance of athletic parks and m any others • ...J Mutual Aid and Self Help One of the most fruitful jobs unde rtake n by the neighbors in a \' community is the construction of hous es following the p r incipie 1 of mutual aid and s elf-help. The r esults of the effort and pe rsistance of the families in solving their housing problems give one of the most encouragino- examples of what can be expected from people who have s ucceeded in overcoming their great limitations and, with a new and strong attitude, show the world the power ) and s trength of cooperatio~Such is the following unique example, !.J


that of the pioneers of ''San José."




THE "SAN JOSE" RURAL COMMUNITY Origin of the Community The planned rural community of ~an José was established by the SPA on the 28th of September of ~4,5 in a typically rural zone of the precinct of "Media Luna" in tbe municipality of Toa Baja. One hundred forty-one families lived in that area, lacking a place of their own, not even awning a piece of land to build a house on. The families were scattered in isolated distant corners of the farm where the community was locat ed, many of them lived in other places of the 'b a rrio" : but all of them belonged to the group of "agregados" of the neighborhood. The depressing name with which the place was baptized - "Ahoga Perros" (a place where even dogs get drowned) seemed to represent the general pattern of living of those families. Low income, s e asonal jobs, large families (6 to 9 members), malnutritíon, inadequate housíng, lack of public services; all these conditions characterized the daily liie of the inhabitants of "Ahoga Perros."




The reader may well imagine the eagerness with which these families welcomed the benefits of the Agrarían Reform, with its deep significance of 'Socialjustice which materializ~d in a ~e of land to build their ñouses on. This is the origin of the ruriil 'é'Om.muni y. "Ahoga Perros" becomes San José T he families thus benefited with a parcel of land began to move to the new c ommunity early in 1946. Those wer e hard days sin ce the community lacked water, el ectric power, schools and an athletic park. Conditions became worse during the rainy season since no streets , had been paved.




However, little by little, the families developed a deep, strong sense of belonging to the community; slowly but persistently a genunine community spirit\permeated the community·and a deep pride for their new place of residence developed. Guided by SPA personnel the families met to discuss their own problema and decide on the action to be taken. A committee of neighbors was organized, elec~d by themselves, which they called 'Government Committee "~ 8 // (Community Council) and a community action plan was prepared in which objectives and goals for the im--


Since ' 1956 the name ''Citizen 's Committee was adopted as more appropriate.


provem ent of the condit ions

in t he community was drawn.

The dynamic activity of the community commcils in cooperation with the f amilies was r esponsibl e for notable changes in the community : s treets wer e repaired , pure drinking water was m ade avail abl e , and pl ans were developed for the construction of two classrooms and a lunch room. Also, steps were t aken to prepare a tract of l and f or an athletic park. Ver y soon those people b ecame aware of their potential strength and a ver y s ignüicant change devel oped. So, one day, the JV,Aole/ .,. . community decided to change its name to •san José", a fact _, which reflects changes in attitude s, in under standing, in selfconfidence . The Houses Notwiths tanding the improvement in s ervices to the community , an undesirable condition was immediat ely apparent -- the subs tandard dwelling which these low income families had been forced to build, shacks made of mixed m at erials , str aw, wood, "yagua ", zinc, c ardboard, boards, et c. They wer e exposed to the rains, and very inadequate to shelter human beings . This problem, characteristic of the community, was the problem which afflicted the rural ar eas of P uer to Rico. Thou- 1 sands of families hoping for a better living, unable to achieve 1 it because of limited economic r esources !! ! The Experiment It was imper ative to find a satisf actory solution to the prob-

l em. The idea of producing a house at the lowest possible cost, compatible with the earning capacity of the family was studied. The t ask was düficult. On this subject the Manual for the Or-ganization of Pilot Projects on Mutual Aid and Self-Help Housing s tates: "Befor 1949 prívat e enterprise and government authorities, including organizations having various functions, had undertaken experiments and projects in the hope of finding a solution to the housing problem. The effor t s of the Homest ead Commission, the P uerto Rico Reconstruction Administration, The Farmers Home Administr ation, the War Emergency Progrnm, the Model Home Board, and the severa! Housing Authoritie$ deserve recognition. These efforts, however, were unsuccessful, in large part, because they failed to develop a house fulfilling satisfactory requirements as to location and design that could be built at a cost and under a financing arrangement witbin the purchasing capacity of l ow income families. Good houses were produced and


valuable experience was acquired, b_u t ~o practica! system .]"esulted from them by way of offer1ng opportunities to develqp housi~g on a large scale. 9/ - --


It was necessary to find a system by means of which families

with very low inc orne could avail themselves of adequate housing at such a low cost to be within their economic capacity. With this in rnind a plan was scheduled, which took form as it was being analyzed. The Executi ve Order


One of the biggest difficulties to overcorne in carrying out the idea was that of creating the financia! resources necessary for the purpose. The experimental project was presented to the Governor and an executive order was obtained from hirn granting the SPA the surn of $10,000 to carry it out. The Gove rnor's authorization marked the beginning and the success of the ex~· periment. Planning the Expe riment

~ w. &nw.ov.'f- ~ ---~ .,.,


From the start, the experimental project gave active participation to the families of the community. After discussing it with the community leaders, the development plan was drafted. It was intended that the SPA would provide assistance to famili e s that could not afford it or could not get it elsewhere. When conside ring the help that the farnilies themselves may furnish two typical characteristics of the Puertp Rican peasant were thought. of: (1) his natural attitude of helping his neighbors and (2) the high esteem he has for the fulfillment of bis agreement, bis "gentleman 's agr eements." From the start it was evident that one of the strongest pilla rs of the experiment would be that: the interested families themselves 1 would provide the labor free of c ost.

r -

Socio-economical questionnaires filled out by the SPA at the time of r elocating the families, s howed that more than twothirds had e nough financia! capacity contribute an initial quota or down payment. They could contribute, besides, with the usable m at e rials from their old houses.


9/ Manual Aid and Housing Santos,

for the Organization of Pilot Projects in Mutual Self-Help in Housing. Interarnerican Center in and Planning - Bogotá 1953, p age 44, Luis Rivera Enrique Bird, Lorenzo Muñoz, Emilio Davila.



The SPA would provide the m aterials and construction equipment as a loan and give free t echnica1 help. This would consist of guidance in the technological and s oci al asp ects, design of a typical plan in accordance with the cus toms and tastes of the group, and periodic s upervision during the construct ion process. ' 1- . ~ Methodology r Ó ,- r""""" ... ~ e JL "' "t


The Gener al Plan is discussed with the families at meetings with large g roups and at study c ircles for small gr oups . The meeting place in the houses, '1:lateyes ", (yard) s treets and roads. ~,t •.,....,... After discus sing Th1?15fa n, ~d after interviewing the applicant s ~hrough questioMaires 12 applicants wer e willing to join the proJect. The f amilies solemnly agreed to comply with their contr act, they bound their ''gentleman 's word" and their ''Word of honor. " Sorne of the terms of the agreement were : l. To work personal! y and without compensation in the construction of the house. 2. To work together from the beginning to the end of the project helping one another. · 3~

Each head of family would work a mínimum of two days per week: one day between Monday to Friday and one day during the ·week-end. (Saturday or Sunday) ¡O


To follow the typical plan designed and approved by the group.

5. To construct first the blocks to be used in all the bouses. To make use of any usable m ater ials of their old houses. To build with it the kitchen. 6. To work in the construction of the houses simultaneously and by stages. 7 • To accept the technical supe r vision of the SPA. 8. To contribute a down payme nt of $20.00 at the beginning of construction and $20.00 at the end. , 9. To pay monthly amortizations until the loan made by the SPA is total!y paid; begiJUling the payments upon delivery of the house. 10. To ac.cept any other agreement of the group s.nd SPA ~ot menhoned in tbe aforementioned rules.

. 10

---l.tl11risr"1s the beginning of the pilot project for the construction of housing by mutual aid and self-help! Would this group of dreamers overcome all difficulties? The work is undertaken relying on the faith that the families have among themselves. Faith of the human being in his fellow being. But the struggle was hard. The effort required compelled them to work incessantly, first in the casting of the cement blocks and Iater in the construction of the houses. Neither the sun nor the rain nor the thousands of inconveniences made these pioneers stop their w_ork. E eD-IDO.nths later the miracle had become a realify and the ~t_projeg_t of houses with mutual aid and selfhelp was a reality. San José as a Training School The project turned out to be a training school for the men in the group and for the government officials who were interested in the new program. The group learned how to make blocks, erect columns and reinfórce roofs. Inthemeantimethe officials of the SPA were studying the techniques and methods used in this project, "{: which was a laboratory where the great potentialities of the la 1 rp,!l in a~ were being tested. It was far from the imagination of the twelve neighbors who ini-

tially accepted the plan, or of the official of SPA, that the experiment in San José would be the dramatic beginning of a vigorous bousing program that would benefitthousandsoffamiliesin Puerto Rico, and that the project of San José was to be an example to be followed by low income familles of other countries in solving the problem of a safe, permanent and sanitary shelter.




The experiences acquired in this first experiment in San José brought to light many important social aspects of the housing problem. In the first place, it was demonstrated that a permanent and sanitary house may be built at a very low cost. In the second place, and of greater importance, is the resultant sociological impact of the social interaction wbich makes it possible for groups to work together without compensation for a common objective the improvement of their homes. Under a new approach, the old traditions of cooperation and help to neighbors provide a frame- ·


work for accomplis hing a great job for the benefit of the comm W'lity. T he first stage of the low cost housing program is cha r acterized by a period of training, of trial and error . But the outs tanding fact is that neithe r during this period nor later has ther e been a failure . Undoubte dly, the program h as confronted m any difficulties and many compl ex proble ms , but an adequate solution h as always been wor ked out and success h as~ been ach ieved , as the stati s tics show. T' ..

What factors have caused this s uccess? In the following pages we s ubm it a det aile d an alysis of the methods and procedures a dopted i n the Hous in& Progr a m based on mutual aid and selfhe lp. Planning the Progr am A p rogram of action as compl ex as the one developed by mutual aid and self-help me thods requires the most caref ul pl annil}g, especially when expanded to incl ude m any construction p;ojects in diffe r ent localities simultaneously. In de veloping a vast program of construction of houses following those m ethods ther e arise s orne factors difficult to control or predict. This is s o b e caus e the p r inc ipie of m utual a id and selfhe lp is pres ent during all t he process of construction in which none of the workers r eceive any compensation for his work. When all oper ations r est upon the basis of social control, sense of respons ibility , willingness to cooper ate and the will to solve a problem, it becomes necessa ry t o pl an carefully and in detail all their difficult aspect s .



Acceptance of the Program Si nce the whol e process i s one of mutual cooperation and of W'lder s tanding of the progr am it is absolutely necessary to disseminat e a great deal of sci entifically analyzed information that will induce the acceptance of the idea. The wish to be accepted socially, the desire t o satisfy a n eed -- in this case a better house -pl ay a very s ignificant role i n the s uccess of a vast housing progr am . Therefore, the cultural patterns existing housing as shown i n the s tudy, or s urvey, prev iously made, weT~ .taken in consider ation. This study p rovi ded the basis for arnvmg at such determinants as: a)

Size of the house - The original study shows that the average size of t he rural house is 14' wide by 1 -i ' deep t'4.27 m x 4,87 m).


12 b) Are a distribution- The typical peasant house averages two rooms plus an overhang where the kitchen is located. e)

Porch Area- Amongthe existing cultural values the porch is of great importance since it means higher social status.

d) Construction Materials - The feeling about security is outstanding in every individual in Puerto Rico. The fear of climatic phenomena has developed in the population a desire to own a type of house which is resistant to hurricanes, to deterioration by humidity, to termites and to fire hazards. All the se re.asons pointed out the advisability of adopting the use of reinforced concrete. A discussion on the clifferent materials of construction and the reasoning behind the decision to use reinforced concrete is submitted later on. In conclusion, as a result of very careful planning, a reinforced

concrete house was designed in which all the factors mentioned above were taken into consideration. 10/ It is interesting to note the outstanding acceptance which the program has received in the rural areas as well as in cities and towns, as contrasted with the indifference with which the families looked at the reinforced concrete house in the rural ar eas during the decade of the thirties.


Economic changes and the development of new attitudes has undoubtedly made possible the acceptance of the program. Centralization of Services Since 1949, after the first house was built, the program has been developed by the SPA. It has been flexible in operation, a f act which has permitted adjustments whenever needed and made possible drawing decisions at the right time . This is one of the f actors which has contributed to its success , especi ally in the initial years during which time complete liberty of action was necessary. Once the necessary funds are allocated, the agency has compl ete authority to make decisions on technical and admini str ative matters. To illustrate the authority and autonomy enjoyed by the Agency sorne comments are given in regard to its operating procedure with equipment, materi als, costs and supervision of construction. Equipment - Since the families can only contribute 10 / Se e Appendix 3, Plan of a typical house under the mutual aid and self-help system.


with their labor, the equipment needed to carry out the project must be provided by the Agency. Thus, it has been necessary to invest large sums of money in the purchase of such equipment as trucks, concrete mixer, and forms. Trucks - Trucks are needed to haul construction materials such a s gravel, sand . stone, steel, lumber. etc. to each one of the projects in construction. Cement Mixers - Construction is greatly speeded when concrete mixers are available. Each housing project uses at least one cement mixer. Forms The SPA provides the families with set of forros. As soon as the decision was made to eliminate the use of cement blocks and instead adopt reinforced concrete. experiments were done with different kinds of forms: lumber ami metal, .sectional and whole forms. Finally, experience has shown. that the most convenient forms are those made in sections 55.5" high (1.4 11\eters), that is half the height of the wall. The. wall is therefore built in two pourings. Once the roof form is set, the slab Ă­s poured in a single operation to insure a monolithic construction. Purchases The agreement between the government and the families provides that the families will be furnished .all the materials. Once construction is completed, the families pay in very low monthly installments (with no interest charges) the cost of the materials plus a proportional share for use of the equipment. It is the responsibility of SPA to obtain the materials at the

lowest possible cost. The purchase of materials has been centralized so as to obtain lowest prices by buying at wholesale through bids submitted by commercial suppliers. A purchasing committee studies the proposals and awards purchase contracts to the lowest bidder. A careful inventory of both materials and equipment is maintained and detailed accounting is kept at all times. This procedure guarantees absolute control of expenditures and use of materials and equipment. Costs As it is absolutely neces s ary to maintain costs at the lowest level possible, new measures of control are continuously being put into practice. As an example we may mention the experience acquired in the d.istribution of materials for the different projects.



Originally all materials for each project we re delive red at the project and the distribution to each unit took place there. A car eful analysis indicated the convenience of changing this method. Today, materials s uch as steel wire, lumber for door and window frames, and electrical supplies are prep ar e d and packed in central warehouses and distributed to each project on the basis of quantity-number per unit. In this way the waste of material i s avoided. Acc ounting Cost accounting is carried on in the central office and charges in the books are made against individual proj ects . The total c ost is distributed among the number of units in the projec t. This accounts for the dĂźferences in cost per unit in the different proj ects . ll/ Supervision Sinc e most of the rural families in the Hous ing Program have very little experience in construction work it is necessary to ÂĄ conduct an inte nsive educational c ampaign and to exerci se constant s upervision over the technical phases of the work. Ade quate supervision is-the b est m eans to assure proper building of the house. A foreman is appointed for each project and placed in ch arge of the group a nd the project from s t art to fini s h. 12/ This fore man is the only person in the group yvho r eceives com p e n sation for his work. All money p aid in wages to this fore man is c harged to the proj ect. For thi s reason it is very important th at the group work effi c i ently a nd without del ays . Besi des the for eman the hous ing program provides for a construc tion supervisor who visit s , ins p ect s, s upervises and solves any probl em s whi ch may ari se. Generally , the construc tion s upe rvisor i s in charge of s ix or more proj ect s, equivalent t o approxima tel y 250 houses tmder construction. The construction eng ineer also visits t he proj ects under way so that any problem ari sing maybe sol ved at the earliest opportunity. The speed with which problems are attended to and solved proved to b e an important factor in the success of a proj ect and in maintaining the morale of the group at a high level. 11/ 12/

See Appendix 4 for detailed analysis of cost per unit. Construction foreman i s a term used to designate a skilled construction worker, able to deal with roen, who is r esponsible for t he immediate supervision of the housing project.


- - 1 Jo"O '

Construction of the Houses In order to give the r eade r a complete and detailed picture of

the interesting pr ocess of cons truction of house s using the mutual/ aid and self-help methods it is convenient to clifferentiate between ) . / the social and educational aspects o f the project and the purely m echanical aspect of construction. It has been pointed out frequently that the most important aspect

of the construction scheme is that the fañillies work and give all their cooperation without receiving an:y monetary compensation. An e nterpr ise b ased on this type of work needs to know beforehand that it has sufficient control of the difterent factors contributing to the success of the work. This m atter acquires greater importance if the r eader is aware that the technical problema of construction are reduced to a mínimum since the work is simple and uniforrn. It is the socioeducational aspect that requires greater dedication and attention long befare construction begins. Social and Educational


Selection of the community: The fir~t- step in developing projects included in the Housing Program for a given fiscal year is the adequate selection of the localities where the houses will be built. This has been mostly in the rural commuruties established by the SPA. 13/ Since those communities have already been planned they offe r the best physical 'and social conditions for developing housing proj ects. In the initial stage of the experiment the f irst group of houses built under aided- self- help methods was carried out by the SPA in a planned community. Logically, the agency had acquired an experience which could be extended to the many other communities it has established. On the other hand, families living in planned comm.unities enjoy the possession of their lots in ''Us ufruct "· This security of possession gives them an advantage over other population groups 13/Law No. 75 of June 19, 1957, which arnends Xrticle 73 A-1 of Law No. 26 of April 12, 19411 providing funde for the Program of Low Cost Housing establishes that the SPA may build houses using the system of mutual aid in planned rural communies, in projects of family size farms, establishedbytheSPA, in tninimum facility urbanizations, and in other places in the rural area. Up to the p r esent the housing program has been developed mostly in the planned rural communities .


n ducation- is a l'ùù~St' in any community project. Notice the :;; ' _attentiveness of - ffie neighbors at this meeting on housing and J aided self-help.

Hon. Luis MuĂąoz Marlh, Governor of Puerto Rico, addresses a group of families wbo are about to receive their plot of land in a new planned rural community.


An "agregado", head of family, draws a number which will give

bim the right to a plot in the new planned community.


possession gives them an advantage over other population groups who, not having clear title to their prope rty, makes it necessary to investigate the title of each applicant. The planned rural communities also offer the advantage of having a population center organized under planning standa rds, with contiguous l ots of uniform size , which makes it easie r to carry out the housing program. Another important reason in s el ecting the planned communities is the fact that relocated f amilies have shown a high degree of residential stability. T~ have developed a high degree of¡ Thanks to their ¡p hysical proximity to inc2.!!ll!luni1J_ feeling. tensive social interrel ations, to a high ~pirit of coope r ation and / to the mutual understanding of the problems affecting them , it is easier to apply the principies and techniques of mutual aid and s elf-help a mong these familie¡s. The decision about sel ecting those communities to develop a housing projec t responds to the need of the families and their desire to salve their hous ing probl ems. Their interest in theprogram is shown by me ans of letter s, telegrams, telephone calls, visits of committees to the central office , petitions through the l ocal leaders, etc. Their demand for houses is generally twice as much as the actual capacity of the Agency to satisfy it. It has been established as a rule that a short s tudy of the com-

munity should precede any work done with the familie s. This study includes the collection of data on gener al character istics of the community s uch as : location, s ize , number of families, topographical features, condition of tbe streets, avail ability of water and el ectric services , et c. 14/ Analysis is also made of any avail able statistics on the community in order to become acquainted with their economic r esources , sources of work, etc. Meetings The SPA has m ade efforts to circulate a great amount of information on the housing program through lectures, pictures, trips . mimeographed material, posters, etc . All this has contributed towards acquainting the families with the program and making them feel the desire to do what others ha ve already accomplished. In other words. we have succeeded in fosteringthe idea of following the lead of others.


' The system of m utual aid r equires complete guidance and the acceptanc e of the working plan by the g roup. The educational


See Appendix 5 - Schedule for the Preliminar Study of the Community.


, 1


, process reaches a climax in a mínimum of three meetings with '1 the families of a community. The heads of families in the community are invited to the first meeting. The officer in charge discusses the communíty action plan 15/ and explains in general terma the program of Low Coat Housing. The relative advantagea and difficulties of community action as a means of aolving their problema are discusaed and reference is made to the problem of houaíng and the possibilíties of its solution through the application of the principies of utual aid. The mínimum requirements established for the selection of a community are also discussed. Literature on community 1ol'lf action plans and selection of a community is distributed. A list of those present is made. At this m eeting the group receives sorne ínformation about the ¡ possibilíties of organizing a savings society for the construction of houses. tf/ 1,

The second meeting is

held(Qneg~ months later.

The families

r present at the first meeting a re invited to attend, although all

persons interested are admitted. The roll is caBed and those attending for the first time are added to the list. At this second meeting the program of Low Cost Housing is discussed with 1 emphasis placed on the requirements which the community must - meet in so far a s facilities and attitudes are concerned.. Mímeographed material on the selection of applicants is distributed, and pertinent details are discussed. Any questions or issues brought up by the neighbors about the matters discussed in the first meeting are also discussed. ''

~u( wee~a

The third meeting is held from fÓUrJ after the s econd. The families present at the second meeting are invited. The roll is called and those attending fo r the first time are added to the list. The details of house construction (type of house, cost, group organization, administ rative organization and installment payment plan) are discussed at this meeting. Questíons on the matters discussed at the preceeding meetings are also answered. Once the third meeting has been held the official in charge is generally able to make recommendations on the feasibility of developing a program in the community. In sorne cases four or five meetings have been necessary before arrivlng at adecision, while in others it has been easy to determine, after the fi~or second _meeting, that the community does meet the desirable éonditions to carry out the project. 15/

See Appendix 6 - The Community Action Plan.

Selection of the Applicant s


As soon as the community is s elected, an investigation of e ach fam ily is made. This important function is car r ied out by a Social Worker. The investigation is made through an interview with the family and any additional information which may be obtained in the community. All the information is entered in the forro prepar ed for this purpose 16/ which serves to determine whether the inter ested families meet the requirements for the program. To insur e the success of the project it is necessary to make the best possibl e selection of the group of families. Careful and detailed s tandards ha ve been developed to make the best selection possible . 171 .\11 the requirements are explained in detail to the applicants so that tbis period of investigation al so constitutes an additional phase of orientation and education of the famUies. The selection of and final deter rĂąination on the applicants is made by a committee cons isting of the Executive Dir ector of the SPA, the Chief of tbe Hous ing Bureau, and tbe Chief of the Division of Group Guidance and Organi zation. G~nerally this fin al selection is made within t~e weeks from the date on Which the investigation ,, - -oogins , so that the l apse of time is not so long as to discourage the applicant s . The selected families ar e so notified in writing. The same l etter 18/ informs them of the date and hour of tbe meeting to be held for the organization of the working groups.


Or ganization of Groups The group cons i sts of thirty or more heads of families. Eacb group is s ubdivided into 5 working units composed of six persons e ach or more. In tbis way ther e will be a working unit of six or more roen working on the proj ect during each of the five working days of the week (from Monday through Friday). This organization is m ade in sucb a way that ever y member of tbe group will be working one day of each week. Thus, durlng each week ther e will be a group of at least s ix workers on the project <luring each of the f ive working days. Such distribution of the works 16/

See Appendix 7 Schedule for the Investigatlon for the Rural Housing Program.


See Appendix 8 (Note - See tables or appendix for this title).


See Appendix 9 Letter written to the neighbors with inform ation about selection for the housing project.




allows every man to make the neccesary arrangements to be pr esent during the same day each week, simplifies the control of attendance, and allows each person a margin to work and earn his _living during the four days in which he is not working on the proJect.

r The o~ganization of a group is very carefully undertaken. The educahonai and guidance functions which began during the m eetings fOF lfie selection of the community are continued in other meetings. When the time comes to establish the formal organization of the group, its members are already conscious of the desirability of that organization. This f acilitates to a great extent the task ; of organization. Officials of the central office, in cooperation with the local officials of the agency, organize the group in the locality where the project is to be developed. The members of the group are made to understand that whenever difficulties or problems arise they are \' 1 free to bring them to the attention of the officials of the SPA for help in finding a solution. The Housing Committee The first phase of a formal organization of the group is the selection or election, by the members themselves, of a Housing Committee which will have the important function of reducing supervisory costs. This commitee is composed of a president, a secretary and a treasurer. The comrnittee acts as a liaison between the group and the central office, and at the same time its members assume leadership, seeing to it that the group members fulfill their obligations, particularly that of being present at their shifts. The organization of this committee is of great importance since the efficiency of the group depends, to a large extent , on its effectiveness. This point is repeatedly brough t to the attention of the group so that when sel ecting committee members they will have in mind those persons who will best contribute to the succe s s of the project. The r ecord, s o f ar, has been excellent. The s econd aspect of the formal organization of the group constitutes the organization of the 5 working units. The fundamental idea is to organize those working units in the mos t eff ective way possible. The preferences expres sed by the members of the group ar e take n into cons ideration. They are asked to express their preferences about the neighbors with they wis h to constit ute a wor king unit, thus the unit is strengthened by the friendly rel ations which already exi st. The criterion of preference is not the only one needed in organ-

1zmg the working W1its. Every possible effort is made to group in the various working m1its persons who have different skills and abilities so that the effectiveness of the organizational m1it is increased. The weekly shift for each member is also arranged at his convenience. If, on a certain date he has sorne work outside of the project he is not included in the unit for that day. In this way the shüts represent the lowest possible degr ee of personal hard~..J- • p ' ).. • ~ ~ ..¿,......_ -..... s hip. (QE ---~ ___.u~ • ~enerally e organization of the group is accomplished in one ~eeting. The grou~gin to operate at the earliest _possi?le hme with a minimn¡n of problems and a maximum of understanding• of the social and technical aspects of the construction of houses. After the organization of the group is completed, and through all the construction process, aqditional meetings are held to maintain the solidarity of the gr oup and its effective productivity. When a new st-ªge in construction begins, a meeting is held and v the group receives the necessary instructions ; suppleme ntedlater by specific instructions on the job given to each one of the working W1its.


Wh-~ necessary, m eeting,s are held with the group to clarify •

añQ== so1ve any problems that m ay have come up in any of the construction stages. These meetiJ1gs are held either on petition of the group, or on the initiative of the central off ice when noticing slow p rogress, or when cost s are too high. In this way the r e is a constant c heck on any forces that might tend to disintegrate the group which must necessarily work together during a rel atively long period o! time. It is convenient to point out here that the meetings to or ganize

a group are held by offici al s of the SPA in the presence of the construction supe rvisors and the foreman who will l ate r deal with the group once construction begins. Thus , the me mbe r s of the group and the supervisory personnel become acquainted with each other from the st art, and this simplifies the job of maintaining the cohesiveness of the group. The r espons ibility of the construction supervisor and the foreman is s uch as to justify their careful sel ection, t aking into consideration their personality, attitudes, and effectiveness while working with r ural families. 19/ This personnel receives special trnining so that 19/

The est ablished norm is to select as foreman those persons who have been outstanding for their ability and knowledge in the projects already complet ad. Later they are subjected 11 to special training.


they may carry on their functions and increase their effectiveness in the professional as well as in the technical field, such as in the organization and administration of groups. The cost of the house will depend greatly on the initial group organization and its operation during the construction period. The cost of materials, equipment and transportation are fixed, an increase over their total presdetermined cost of $350 will be the result of poor organization and of inefficient operation of the group. This is the reason for the precautions taken in this aspect of the development of the housing projects. Aspects of Construction The specĂźications for the typical house are simple. The work consists of a structure built of reinforced concrete from the foundations to the roof slab.20/ The houses have the following accomodations: a living-dining room, two bedrooms and a porch.21/ The area built of reinforced concrete is 324 square feet (30.ll square meters), or 18 1 long by 18 1 wide (5.48 meters x 5.48 meters). The ceiling height is 9 feet (2. 7 meters). The families build a kitchen in the back of the house with the utilizabale materials of their present house. The first step in construction is the carrying of equipment and necessary materials to each house. The concrete mixer, forms, shovels, etc. are delive redfrom the central warehouse of the SPA. The r equis itions for purchases and shop orders are processed simultaneously so as not to delay the work. Purchase of crushed stone and the supply of sand is arranged for. At the same time all required steps are taken to ha ve the workmen covered by labor insurance, for which each member of the group pays the amount of $2.35. A member of the group, generally the secretary of the Committee , signs receipts for the material and is made responsible for the storing of equipment and m ate rials.22/ As a result of the training r eceived the whole group takes good care of the equipment and the materials. 20/

See Appendix 3 - Floor P lan of a typical r ural house.


Sanitary facilities consist of a privy or l atrine separated from the house.

22/ See Appendix 10 - Building Materials required for the Housing Program.

As an initial step in the construction of thelr houses, nelghbors learn the technlque of marking the ground for the new house.

Each family diga the ground for lts new bouse.

Stage in which eacb has completed tbe fioor alabe and steel roda mark locatton for r eiDforced cement walls. Notice old wooden bouse in background.


Laying out of Hous es The Puerto Rico Planning Board r egulat es the cons truc tion of houses in the Isla nd ancl all const ruc tion mustfollow the standards and r egul ations establis hed by the Board. The work of l aying out the house is done according to said r egulations, under the s upervision of the const r uction s upervis or. This work is very important since it fixes the location of the group of houses a nd of e ach individual house . It requires technical knowledge to avoicl exc ess ive costs , assure safety , etc . Footing Excavations As soon as the l ayout is finis h ed a for eman is assigned to worl< with the group on the proje c t whi ch will be supervised by the construction s uper visor. His first job is to direct the excavations for footings . This job is carri e d out in the arde r already prede termined. The experience acquired from m ost of the proj ects s hows that as s oon as the for e m an has ta ught the me n how to do the excavation each one , on hi s own, continues the excavations for his own h ouse , (in a ddition to the time he works in the r egular shift ), thus a ccele r ating the completion of this s tage . An important consequence of s uch working s pirit is that the supervisory cost of the f orem an is r educed since ex cavation time is cons iderably s hortened. Re inforcem ent Whe n the excavation is finis hed the r einfor c ing rods are pl ac ecl in pos it ion at the prope r distances , and ti ed with g al vanize d wire . The s upe r vi sor ins truct s on the co rrect proceclure t o be foll owe cl. P ouring Concr ete P our ing of concrete for foundat ions , walls , floor s a nd r oofs follows the excavation and is done in t he or de r n amed. No single house is fini s hed ahead of the others unl ess it is neecle cl as a warehouse while cons truction of the project is under way . It is of utmos t importance tha t th e foreman expl ain t o the group the propor tions of the conc r ete aggr e gates to be used in the clifferent parts of the structure in accordance with the s pecifications . The exact quantity of each aggr e gate going into the conc r et e for the diffe r ent part s of the s truct ure a r e apec ified. In a rde r lo avoicl defective cons truct ion due to imprope r use of m at erials, i t i s the forem an 's duty to see that these specifications a re not alter ed.



Neighbors r eady to pour conc r ete in the flrst stage of the walls .

Walls at the second and las t s tage.

Nottce working equlpment.

Walls already up. Ne lghbors rub walls wlth burlap and cement emulsion to substitute for plasterlng, thus reduclng cos ta.

23 Finishing Surfaces Ea ch house must be finished without plastering, instead the walls are rubbed, generally with wet burlap as soon as the forros are removed. Since the concrete is still fresh , rubbing creates a s mooth surface which looks much like being plastered. This process, besides being economical, accomplish~s anhomogeneous construction without dange r of c r acking or loosening of the plaster due to unskilled labor. P ainting of the Houses The painting of the hous e is the individual responsibility of the family and not of the group. To accelerate completion of the proj ect and at the same time insure prompt r elocation of the fa milies, each family is given the paint needed for the exterior and inter ior pa inting of its house.

\ J

Doors a.nd Windows In order to reduce costs and at the same time make use of those m at erials of the original houses which are still in good condition, each f amily makes from them the doors and windows for its house. This is part of the original agreement. Constantly, it is noted that many in the group through their personal effort s , equip their houses with new doors and windows, the l atte r g e nerally of the alum.inum "Miami" type . In sorne cases due to special reasons there has been a.n agr eement to include new doors and windows chargeable to the proj ect. Installation of Electric Light All the houses built under the Mutual Aid P l an, r egardles s of their geographical location, are provided with electric light ins tallations. In this wayr the program and priorities established by the gove rnment for rural el ectrific ation are advanced; and when electr ic light service is provided to the "ba rrio", the houses already have the facilities to make use of the s e rvic e. It s hould be pointed out that e ve n though the houses are provided

with the ins tallation for el ectric light, it i s l eft to e ach family to obtain the ser vice as well as to p ay for it. Completion of the P roject A project is not considered complet ed until all the houses a re totally built. In the final stages SPA as signs to the project a home improvem ent specialist -- SPA offi cial. His work is very



Once the roof slap ls finlshed, doors and wlndows are made and installed.

The house owner takes pride in the appearance of his newly built house. Wife and children also cooperate.

Electr lclty and other servtces are provlded for lhe families in the rural communities, especlally in the new aided self-help projects.


important since it is an attempt to make the whole f~parti.­ cipate actively and intensively in the completion Of its new house and the elimination of the old one. The work begins with furnishing advice to the families in selecting the colors to be used for painting. The housing program supplies thepaint which the family selects. The specialist tries to make the families learn how to harmonize the colors and make the best combinations. The work of the specialist has m any other important phases . It is through her initiative and activity that the f amilies a r e




J -

oriented on how to irnprove the house and its surroundings, thus creating a more pleasant environment for the farnily and the community. The specialist exerts the best efforts to train the families to adopt good consumer practices within the limits of their income. Thousands of e xamples may be c ited to prove the beneficia! influence of the home improvement specialist on the way families improve the furniture for their new houses, the interior and exterior decoration, their living habits, etc., all leading to higher material and non-materiallevels of living. Finally, these

sp~ialists are.entru§..t ~ith ~sk of orgqni~g

~ the activity wftlfWhich all housing proj ects clímax: the inaugural

ceremony of the project. Inauguration of the Project This term is used to denote the activities with which the project is finished. These activities consist of a simple but significant cerem ony in which all the f amilies in the project cel ebrate the s uccessful comple tion of their houses. T~ act!:Yl.~ganized through the initiative oL.the_gr oup _2f fa~ilies. Localleaders and nelghbors are invited, also municipal authorities, and other government officials including those of SPA.

j t,

/ Besides being a good incentive to the families, this activity ( furnishes a good educ ational m edium and serves as propaganda for other families of the community and neighboring areas"l~ in favor of the Self-Help a nd Mutual Aid pl an. The occasion als o serves the purpose of acquaintingthe municip al a uthoritie s, l egi s lators and other governmental leade r s with the p rogra m so that they b ecome aware of its g reat potenti alit i es. It is also a simple for m of acknowl edging the work a nd the effort

of those famili es who have built new houses for themselves '.J through c oope r ative action. 23/ It is , beside s, a good occasion ~'f for the head of the family and his wife to sign before a notary


No housing project is considered finished unless simple interior decorations and improvements are c arried on by the fami l y with guidance by a borne improvement agent.

The fln lshed house. Cost U.S. $350.00,

When the housing project ls flnished the whole communlty joins in the celebration.


public the document or promisory note for the debt on their houses. Financing It has been necessary to depart from the tradional credit sources

available at present in Puerto Rico to obtain adequate financing for the housing projects underยกtheSELF-HELP ANDMUTUALAID PLAN. Factors such as the highly rural character of the program, land tenancy, the amount per unit to be invested, the uncertainty of the family income and its effect on the paying capacity, do not offer attractive conditions to credit institutions. This situation has forced the government to go into the field of credit and financing of the housing projects. The State has accepted this public responsibility of providing necessary funds to the families without the financia! capacity to solve their housing problem. Notwithstanding the fact that public policy is to provide for the functioning of the program, there is, in addition, the policy of creating a sense of responsibility and social dignity among the families which impels them to refuse a donation. In this way, government help is considered by the families as a loan. These families accept their responsibility and agree to pay for the cost of the materials and the use of the equipment. 24/ As stated before, the financing of the housing program falls upon legislative appropriations as well as on the family itself. Participation of the Government The participation of the government takes two forms: first, providing guidance and tec hnical help (supe rvision, design of plans, appeals before the Planning Board, centralized purchasing s e rvices, etc.) and s econd, furnishing loans to the beneficiaries amounting to the cost of the m ateri als and the use of the construction equipment. The technical help is considered p art of the func tions of the agency, so the families do not pay for this . The loan i s paid by the fa milies to the government in monthly installments a mounting to about $2.75 They have a maximum of 10 years to cancel the debt without p ayment of interest. If the group makes efficient use of the cooperative system, the house costs around $350 per unit. This has been the experience until the 23/ See Appendix 11 - A copy of the Certificat e of Merit which SPA grants the families that have finished s uccessfully the housing project. 24/ See Appendix 12 Funds Assigned for the Operation of the Program of Low Cost Housing.


present. 25/ Participation of the Farnilies The families participate in two forms, by providing the labor without compensation, and by paying the expenses incurred during construction. Each family makes a down payment of $20.00 and pays $2.35 insurance against labor accidents which covers the participants as well as any other persons who m ay be working in the construction of the houses. Summarizing, in the construction of these ( houses resources which have never been used are utilized and a new concepJof C.!:!Lditwhichgives afaiJ_vatue to the only heritage of the worldng class - tlleirTabor - is created. The families in this program have shoWĂą'their moral credit to be of great value. A recent analysis of the state of the debt shows that as of June 30, 1959, the sum of $41,489.73hadbeen paid over and above what should have been collected to that date. This means that the famili es are anxious to liquidate their debt in compliance with the word they have given in their gentleman 's agreement. Savings Societies for the Construction of Houses


At the beginning of the housing program the familias were requested to furnish a down payment as a prerequisite to the building of their houses. The interested neighbor himself kept the money until t~e time of starting the project when he gave the previously agr eed surn to an authorized official of the SPA. This arrangem ent offe red som e difficulties: (1) those neighbors without good s aving habits did not save enough money in time to be eligible for the program; (2) the community sometimes suffered the consequences of this situation since it is essential to have a mĂ­nimum number of neighbors willing to accept the program. By this , many were discouraged, giving rise to sorne resistance to organization of a future group; (3) it was impossible to determine on a specific date the amount of savings available in the community. The willingness to save is one of the factors that indicates the interest of the cornmunity in the program; (4) it made difficult the organization of promotional cnmpaigns to stimulate saving habits. Besides the question of s avings, it was necessary to channel the specific activities on housing through the families interested but who lacked an adequate organization to do so. 25/ See Appendix 13 Average Cost of the Houses built from 1950-51 to 1958-59.




The families themselves began to assign, spontaneously, certain responsibilities to sorne members of the group. One or severa! members assumed the promotion work; that of calling meetings, of making contacts with other organizations in the community, with officials and the offices of the SPA and with officials of the government, as well as with any other person or prĂ­vate concern that could cooperate. Another member took charge of collecting tbe contributions of the neighbors. This function was often the responsibility of the Citizens' Committee, the permanent organization which directs the activities of the community. In this way, and as a consequence of the necessity and ingenuity of the neighbors, the Savings Societies for the construction of houses wer e organized. Development of the Savings Societies To provide the necessary l eadership, to systematize and to increase the saving habits of the families, the SPA decided to foster the organization of the Savings Societies. A general plan to accomplish this purpose was developed, establishing the following objectives: (1) Gener al obj ective: to foster the savings habits as a m eans of improving the conditions of housing in Puerto Rico. (2) Im m ediate objectives: a) t o encourage the f amilies to r aise the funds for construc tion by m e ans of individu al savings . b) to continue s aving, once the houses ar e built, for the purpose of maintaining them in good condition. e) to continue s aving for the purpose of developing proj ects t o improve the hous es such as: 1) construction of s imple furniture , 2) manufacture of article s for the home s uch as bedspreads, s hoe-racks , picture frames, curtains , et c . d) to invest the savings in liqui dating the debt. Organi zation and Operation As soon as the families show interest in improving their housing conditions and so inform the SPA, the process of guidance on on the subject of savings begins. Through written communications and the local offices of the agency , they are lectured on the necessity and convenience of organizing a Savings Society. They learn how the Society is organized and how it functions. This guidance is necessary to avoid the er rors of procedure that might endanger the success of the project. As SPA officials are not always on hand when the neighbors need guidance, pre-


liminar y orientation helps them to ass ume the initial r esponsibility and to s olve one of their most important problems. The societies are organized with all inter ested families of the community. They have a directing committee composed of three m embers - - a pres ident , a s ecr et ar y, and a t r easurer -- and it is usually called the "Housing Committee "¡ Once the families have accepted the idea of the Savings Society a meeting is held where information on the philosophy , principies , and purposes of the Society , its operation and other requirements, duties and responsibilities are explained. Savings are made systematically fr om the start. A procedure for collecting and depositing the savings is adopted. As soon as the directors ar e elected they choose a banking institution to ope n a savings account for the society. The president, the secret ary and the treasurer , with their s ignatur e , authorize the opening of the account. The withdrawal offunds mus t be authorized jointly by the s am e three m ember s . Supervis ion The Savings Societies are s upervis ed indir ectly from r eports r ender ed by the director s , and by means of the discussion and guidance meetings held periodically. Direct s upervis ion takes pl ace when the savings accounts are inspected, when the regularity of deposits is verified, and when the saving r eceipts or depositors' r eceipts ar e being checked. Achievem ents Since 1956 when the Savings Soci eties were organized, the number of societies has r em ained high. As soon as the projects are complet ed and the function of the savings societies ceases in s orne comm unitie s, other families are organizedinnewcommunities for the s ame purpose. The savings in the year 1955-56 amounted to $44,06 1 from 2,288 members. In the year 1958-59 the s avings r ose to $64, 98 2.76 from 2, 640 members. In the last years, due to better general conditions including better orientation and education , the savings per capita have increased. 26/ T he total amount saved by these families adrls up to $1~ 1,212.81 and the expenditures to $2 ,224,8 10. 16 with which 7,886 houses have already been built and 2,476 are under way. For tbe year 26/ See Appendix 14 , Savings Societies Organized, t:-tc.


1958-59 the savings of the members in the savings societies amounted to 7% of the total cost of construction in that yea r, which was $875,000. The cost of the work aiready is $2,224,810.16 which s um represents only the investment of the government in the construction of houses without including other items such as the value of the work done by the families. lf these other items are taken into consideration it is estimated that if the houses had been constructe d individually by prívate enterprise their value would have been $1,300 each. On this basis the 7, 563 houses built represent a total value of $9,831,910. Notwithstanding the importance of those figures we should not lose sight of the great importance of the s ocia l value of the Savings Societies . They have been wonderful instruments in developing leaders hip, fa ith and capacity among the ne ighbors who unde rtake the projects and solve their proble ms in common.










The experience acquired in the construction of houses in the rura l zones has been applied to the urban zones with great success, notwiths tanding the f act that the problems of housing in these zones are more complex. Economical forces, the emigration to urb an centers, the thousands of families who live in slums, the shortage of la nd, the amount of funds nee ded to solve the probl e m, increase the difficulty. Nevertheless, the government has made extr aordinary efforts towa r ds its solution. The Project of Hoare F amilies When the renewal of the slum known as Hoare in Santurce b€gan in 195 6, 35 f amilies agreed to develop a hous ing project using mutual aid methods. This project presents a good exampl e of inte ragency coordination, The forme r San Juan Housing Authority whic h today forms part of the Puerto Rico Urban Renewal and Hous ing Corporation, made the necessary arrangements so that the money which these families would receive as payment for clearance of their old s hacks would be use d to pay for the materials going into the constructíon of their houses. The Puerto Rico Housing Authority sold the lots to each one of those 35 families, to be paidfor in installments of $7.00 per month


during a period of 20 years, with no inte r est charged. The price of each lot of approximately 2130 squ ar e mete rs , was $1,250. The SPA concentrated its attention on ori ent ation, technical guidance, and construction of the houses. After intense training the families furnished the l abor without compensation. They paid the money to cove r the total cost of the house, which was $1,192.10. This urban house has dime nsions of 20 feet (6.10 meters) by 30 feet (9.15 meters). It has a porch 1 living-dining room, kitchen, bathroom and three ·bedrooms. It includes water and sewer lines for flush t oilet , lavatory and kitchen sink, but not the fixtures. The project is considered a great s uccess for the Self- Help and Mutual Aid technique. The houses were built in 18 weeks. The 35 roen working on the project construc ted each with 1,115.07 hours of work. Considering the work of the foreman and other details, each house represents 1,2:>7 man- hours of l abor. If labor is estimated at 75 cents per hour its total cost amounts to $959.25 per house. Thus the total cost of the house is estim ated at $6,000. Deducting the cost of the lot, and the sanitary and electrical fixtures ($1,250 and $500 respectively) it is evident that the net cost of labor, in their coll ective organized effort, is $4,250. Obviously, families with such limited economic resources would never have been able to acquir e a house of this type, except by applying Self-Help and Mutual Aid methods. The work' realized by these families s hows that part of the problem of slum elimination in Puerto Rico could be s uccessfully solved by displaced families using Mutual Aid methods, if duly oriented and if the lots were made available . Mínimum Facilities Lot Developments Anothe r experiment in solving the hous ing problem in the urban a r e a has been through the c r eation of the Program of Minimum Facilities Lot Developments to r elocate those families from the s lums , who for special reasons, do not qunlify for public housing. The Mínimum Facilities Lot Developments are designed for urban de vel opment following the rules and regulattons of the Plannfng Board. Nevertheless, for reasons of economy nncl due to the need of accomplishing prompt sol utions, these projects are not provided with streets nor sewerage systems. Water servtcc is prov1ded by means of public faucets and elect ric lfghting is provtded in t he streets.271 The lots measure approximately 300 square 271 The Program of Minimum F acilities l ots was started by the SPA in 1953. On March 1, 1953, by legislative action, lt was trangfe rred to CRUV.


meters. By June 30, 1959, twenty- nine projects of this type had been established. about 5,468 families owned a lot in usufruct. There are plans to develop a total of 9,000 lots be tween 1960 and 1966. Applying the principies developed a total of 14 Lot Developments. By been completed and 29 of 626 units.

of Self-Help and Mutual Aid, the SPA has housing projects in MĂ­nimum Facilities the 31 of December 1959, 597 houses had houses were in construction, for a total

During the last three years there has developed an interesting program on the construction of cooperative housing projects. The educational and organizational work has been developed by the Bureau of Cooperative Housing of the Cooperative Development Administration. This program consists of directing and developing groups offamilies in the urban areas who are interested in solving their housingproblem in a cooperativeform. At present there a re 22 cooperatives with 2, 711 m embers in the program. As of July 31, 1959 they contributed $829, 097.93 to be eligible for participation in the program of cooperative houses and lots. The estimated cost of the completed work is $6,7 40, 150. It is important to note that the project, the lots as well as the houses, is financed by the families themselves from prĂ­vate cr edit sources. The only investment by the government consists of the cost of tec hnical advice, orientation, preparation of plans, and advice on planning, rules and regulations, etc.The Program of the Bureau of Cooperative Housing is e xpected to fill an important place in the overall program for the solution of the housing problem in Puerto Rico. Public Housing Projects The most intensive approach to the housing problem in urban areas has been through the program of slum elimination carried out by the Housing Authority, known today as CRUV. As of June 30 1959, at l east 20,397 apartments in public proj ects (Fede ral and Commonwealth) have been provided - mainly for families removed from slum areas - in 50 towns of the Isl and. A total of 4,57 6 apartme nts ha ve been planned for 1960 - 61, and 5, 194 for 1961-62. Although this program is neither definite nor permanent, as a solution to the proble m, it is evident from the figures given that for the moment it offe rs to the families in the s lums an advantageous sol ution. Only because of this point of vi ew the public housing progra m is included in this section. It is hoped that later on t he residents in public housing projects will be gi ve n the opportunity of sol ving their housing proble m permanently, through a program in which the sys te m of Mutual Aid will occupy a pl ace of p r eference.


Although the above discussion m ay appear to digress from the main subject, it is submitted for the purpose of showing the prominent plac e which Self-Help and Mutual Aid methods should and will have, undoubtedly, in the s olution of the hous ing problem in the urban areas. The experiences obtained in t he rural zones were extended to the urban area with successful r esults. No case presented obstacles that could not be surmounted. The scope and complexity of the housing problem in the urban are as leaves no other alternative but to ut ilize all means available to salve it. Self-Help and Mutual Aid occupy a prominent place in the fight against slums, against inadequate housing, agains t overcrowding and against low standards of living.





Âż_ T.

The housing program which began in November 1949, a s a pilot experiment of 12 units has been extended over the entire island, covering all the municipalities, with project s in the rural zones and in the urban areas. By December 31, 1959, no fewe r than 7,886 units had been completed and 2,47 6 units were under way. Recently, a simple cer emony of significance for the housing program was celebrated in a planned rural community in the interior of the Island. On this occasion the cornerstone was laid for house number ~ 000 built unde r the method of mutual aid and self-help. Among the achievem ents of the program, it should be noted that with a mĂ­nimum of investment by the government, it has been feasible to salve the housing problem of thousands of fam.ilies / with the use of human resources that otherwise would have been lost . The hous ing pr ogram has served also as a stimulus to awaken in many families an interest and a desire to follow the l ead of other s in the r ural communit ies, who have improved their houses by their own initiat ive. Another significant achi evement of the housing program has been the advancement of greater s oci al integration within the comm unities and the creation of a greater cohesiveness among the f amilies. The accomplishments of the government in solving the problem in the rural areas have been very encouraging. The condition of "agrego " of mor e than fifty thousand rural families has been eliminated. This is equivalent to a 75% solution of the problem. It is expected that by 1964 sufficient lots will have been provided


When the ground was broken fo r house number 10.000 under the aided self-help program an impress ive c e remony was held. Photo shows the owners of the house which was already under construction.

for each rural "agregado " to own a lot. Evidently, this is only the beginning of the solution to the housingproblem, but a beginning the s uccess of which is already proven. 1f the present policy of the government towards the housing prob-

lem continues (and there is no reason to expect otherwise) the practice and syst em of mutual aid and self- help will continue to expand, P l ans are already being evolved to advance the goals and to begin the construction of 4,000 units in 1960-61, and 5,000 units in the following year. 1f there are no interruptions, it may be expect ed that by 1963 a total of 22,000 houses will have been built under the plan of mutual aid and self- help in the rural areas. In conclusion, it may be stated without fear of being too optimistic

that the system of mutual aid and self-help is today one of the best, if not the best, approaches to the solution of the housing problem in Puerto Rico.










Rural Convnunity Enlarged

Rural Community Established

_.. M.micipa l Boundary



Typical design of a Planned Rural Community














~ ~----=:-;e-= =--:..;;;:::::==








y.l' fi' 1...0/'





~~~ ~--......;;: ~~

1 1 1j'(









9'- B"

7 "


>l'co ::::.. f---










g'- ló ''









s'- "' ..









, DI N 1 N G --.:t~ ROO M




- ....__ •lt'l




I Q)


---' -



-~ ~ 1


.N, ~


- 1


z•- S "


....,. 1


"3 - 1

t 3 '-o t

a '- a "

1 T 18'-o"




SQ. FT .


'o ·('O'



3'- o "

2 '-9 "


.. 3'-1




181 x ~8 1

Building Cost of Typical

: Q uan t .: Aprox .

Descri pti on

: unit price


House .: C os t per house

Moteriols: Cement .

l OObgs: $ 1.00

Grave ! or crushed stone Sond . . . , . . . . .

$ 100.00

: 16c .m .:

2 . 75

44 . 00

lOc. m.:



Door & Window Frames 1 wood 1 : reodyout 1 unassembl ed . . . : 82. 89 : : BFM : Nai ls . . . . . . . . . . : 2.51b.:

O. 10




Steel Nails . . . . . . .

O. 18

. 09

0 . 5lb.:

Fuel & Lubricants for mixe r


Stockroom Suppl i es: Re i nforci ng stee 1 bars

: 9 .35 cwt. 5








Foste ning Wire 1 1 ]6 .


. 09


House Poi nt 1 Po 1y vi ni 1

: 5go l.


11. 85

Elec tri e Outlet Boxes Electric Conduit 1/2"x 10•

Use o f Equip. & Fac iliti es Use of Concre te Forms . Tru c king Charges . . . Use of Concrete Mixer . Use of Wheelborrows . • Ste e l bar c utting charges Use o f Buckets . Use of Shovel s . . . . . Use af Wrenche s . . . •

30 . 00 25.00 6.25 1.00 5.43 1.25 . 20 . 23

. . . . . •



350 . 5 1


EXPLORIN G THE C O MMUN ITY Foc tors to be conside red in determi ning t he possibil it ies of o communi ty for a Housing Progrom .

l. Commun ity


2. Dote of settlement 3 . Woys of occess

4 . Topogrophy 5 . Number of fomi li es in t he community 6. Numbe r of lots

7 . G e ne ral condition of t he dwel ling

8 . Sources o f mote ri o ls: Sond G ro ve l

9 . Publ ic Fa c i lit ies: Electri c ity Sc hoo l Te le phone O t he rs

10 . C iti ze nshi p Committee: Neme Pres . Vice- Pre s .

Se e . Treos . Members


APPEN DIX 5 page 2

11. Warking apportuni ti es


12. Brief history of communal octivities (coaperotives, schoo ls, communa l cente r etc . )

13. O bservotions:

14. Recommendotions:





Puerto Rico has limited economic resources and plenty of people. Thi s is known fact to ever y Puerto Ri can and especially to the 140,000 unemployed we had befare the sugar canegrinding season of 195 1. Any endeavor towards the utilization of these resources constitutes a valuable contribution in the solution of our serious problems . Particularly, of great interest is the utilization of these unemployed r esources in providing such public services and facilities which norm ally would be provided by the government but which due to the li mited economic resources will take many years befar e the government can provide them to everybody. There are in Puerto Rico approximately 100,000 rural families in need of adequate homes. The solution to a problem of this magnitude,following the tradltional construction techniques seems practically impossible for a country with our limited economic resources. At a minimurn cost of $4,000 per unit, which is the mĂ­nimum cost in the urban ar eas , more than 400 million dollars are needed to salve our rural housing problem. It is obvious that Puerto Rico cannot incur such enormous expenditures. Up to April 1959, the Social Programa Administration of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce, had established 289 rural communities where more than 49,000 families have been settled. These famili es are primarily farm laborers lacking the money to build an adequate home . You are one of these people; you know the real s ituation. The l ack of an adequate home is not the only problem o! the Puerto Rican peasant. The r e ar e other problems such as the la<'-k o! streets and roads, the lack of a pure water supply, the lack of milk stations, community centers, health centers, classrot">rns, school lunchrooms, parks and recreation centcrs. All thes things are very necessary. Finding an answer to these problems of the whole fsland is one of the government 's main undertakings. In the solution of thes â&#x20AC;˘ problems all Puerto Ricans have a part, all of us have a r le to play. You, too, don 't forget it. All the families living in the rural communltit'S m~tabllsh d by the Social Programs Administration of tho Departmc.nt of grieulture are participating in the solution to the~e problems through the Community Action Plan. The Community Action Plan is based on the princlple that the

APPENDIX 6 page 2

families of our rural areas have the disposition, the courage and the determination necessary to start direct act ion and to belp face their own problems either by individual acti~n or by group action. The Community Action Plan is giving social s ignificance to the Christian principie of self-help and mutual aid.



The Community Action Plan is based on the study and disc ussion of the necessities and problems of all the families in the community. Once these problems and necessities are studi es their solution is planned by the families r elying on their own 'effort and tbe cooperation which might be obtained from the municipaJ government and other agencies of the insular government. The purpose is to organize all the r sources and concentrate on one objective the solution of the pressingproblem s of our rural areas . Many projects have been carried out under this plan. Among these, the construction of streets and roads , the drilling of deep wells, the construction of milk stations and community centers , sewing centers , and especially the construction of low cost houses . In all these projects, the families have provided part of the construction materials and all the labor without cost to the government. The municipal government and the insular government have provided part of the constr uction m.aterials plus the equipment necessary for carrying on the proJect. In this way, combining the efforts of the families and government, many services have been provided which otherwise woul d have taken many years to be accomplished. The Social Programs Administration has faith in our rural f arm workers. We know that once the rural families are or ganized wtth a common objective : once they p articipate in the discussion and formulation of the plans and are r eady to contribute with all their resources, the problems which are now so overwhelming will be under their control and will be solved. All the rural families of the Island are welcomed to join the ranks of this new legion of men upon whose s houlders the responsibility of attaining through their own efforts, better standards of living and the total betterment of the community will rest.



General information:

Rural coamunit:r.,......_ _ _ _ _ _ _ Municipalit:y_ _ _ _ _ _ _-=-~-:: Lot No. Hue of candidate Read? Write? ·---Mame of rife Read? Write? Ma.rita1 status - - - - - Religi.on - - - - - - - - - Age - - - - - - - Occupation ~~~------------~-~~ ltiDd of work he does Pbysical. di.sabil.ity Length of time of residence in the cOIIIIIUI1it;y --------F..Uy infor.ation: Nu.ber of meabers in the family Children under 18 :years._ _ _ __ Over 18 :yeara lb• man:y of tbese are working? Do otheJ;' persona live permanentl:y in the family? ------Explain: lbw ~ of these latter persona are tJOrking? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ~: ~~aey

.anths per year does applicant work at bis principal occupation?_ _ _ _ __ days per ~k does he work?____________ Daily •age 1______ Wee~ 1 Honthl:y 1 Other income and its source ____::._-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-:_------------------lb•



Inforu.tion on tbe Size ~.,....--...,.---- General condition - - - - Approxiaate value 1.,..._ _ __ Deacription: Parti.tions Porch Roof Cei.ling ROOM ---Re8arks on app1icant •s socia1 and -.,ral standing (relations rith famlies in the c~t:y 1 1eadership1 1IOrit done for tbe c~t:y, liabi.ts, gtoupil to wbich be ...:Lbelml6a1 etc.) .



eooperation and contribution to tbe Prograa: Atti.tude togard

~ve.ent of the c~t:y - - - - -- ---------------------

Bow ~ housing .eeting& have you.. atteoded? - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Wbere rill :you obtain tbe down ~nt? Can JOU piQ' tbe S20? What tl0u1d~':"":'be-~the'""-110at~.--JOU--CO-u1d"="='-PB1--a5~t~be-ini~-~t~i..,al ..... ~nt?

11hat déqs-o~f:-.::t~be~oe~ek~d~o---you....,..,pr~e'='re"'"r--:-t-o-uo~rk~?-:(r;Fro.~~Mond::-""":-11.7"-::to.....,Fri.da7;:--:r-;-'""T')-

- -----

Debta - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - a...rics aud rec~ndati.ons:

Sianature of Interri.ewer




LOW-COST RURAL HOUSING PROGRAM SELECTING THE CANDIDATESr ·- ·In or der to determine the eligibility of the candidates interested in the Low-Cost Rural Housing.Program, a careful investigatipn

is made of each prospective candidate. · Each family is visited at home and a written report is submitted to the Social Programs Administration. T Ws r eport contains valuable information about the living conditions , ecbnomic r esources ,_ number of people in the family, attituO.e of t he candidate towards the physical improvement of the community and other data necessary for the study of each case. The report is made by a trained Social Worker with the cooperation of the local Social Programs Administration Supervisor. After all the investigations are made, a cornmittee of the Social Programs Adm1n1stration composed of the Executive Director, the Head of the Housing Bureau and the Hous ing Planner studies all candidates that might qualify and selcet s those who are most likely to succeed according to existing st andards . The officials of the Social Programa Administration pl ace great emphasis on the selection of candidates, as the s uccess of the project is dependent on the participants. Candidates are selected among the many inter ested families to form an initial group of not l ess t han 30 households . In thi s way each household provides one man-day each week based on a s ix man working team required by the cons truction m ethods and materials used. To qualify a candidate must satis fy the following qualifications: He must: 1.


Be the head of a family. Live with his wife and children on a l ot covered by Title V of the Land Act .


Have a house in bad condition.


Have cooperative ideals and a record of cooperating with bis neighbors in community improvement.


Be honorable and have a reputation as a good worker .


Be of good conduct.


Be physically and mentally healthy and able to do the type

APPENDIX 8 p age 2

of work required. 8.

Have a desire to learn; the construction of concrete houses is new work for the l ar ger part of the rural families.


Have the desire to improve his living standa rds through his o~ efforts.

10. Have the financia! resources to pay the debt that he will corĂ­tract in building the house. 11. Be an active member of the Savings Society. 12. Be an active participant in community improvement activities. 13. Be a man who can be trusted on his word. (This is necessary as he is not bound by a written contract.) 14. Agree to tear do~ the present house(when the new one is completed) and to construct the kitchen, doors and windows of the new house from the reusable material. (This is to prevent any atte mpt to h ave two houses on a lot.) 15. Agree to work on the days stipulated until the c ompletion of the proj ect. 16. Agree to make the first half of the down payment at the beginning of the construction of the concrete building blocks and the second half when the roof is completed. 17. Be willing to abide' by the rules of the program. 18. Agree to take good car e of the construction m ateri als used in the work. 19. Attend all the meetings held on the proj ect; if this i s not poss ible , his wife must attend in his s t ead.

APPENDIX 9 Mr. _____________________________ ---------------------Community

----------------------- , Puerto Rico Dear Sir:The Low Cost Housing Program of the Social Programs Administration, takes pleasure in advis ing you that you have been selected as a member of the group of families chosen to build their houses In this community. As already stated, the selection is subject to your compliance with the duties and responsibilities as follows: 1-

Personal and punctual attendance to your work schedule and extra hours, of your choosing, in group organization.


Befare the roof slab ts poured, all walls must be free from defective spots.


Make and install doors and wlndows upon termination of of the house â&#x20AC;˘

./ 4-

Once the new house is built, the old one mus t be torn down.


Not to build concrete or block extenstons to the new house without the previous authorization of the Social Programs Administration or other governmental agency concerned.


Make punctual monthly payments until full settlement of the indebtedness.


To comply with and be bound by any decision concerning any violation of the rules and regulations that govern the Low Cost Housing Program and particularly those of the Social Programa Ad.ministration.

Needless to say that failure to comply with any of the foregoing duties and responsibilitles, or for just cause, toward this Program shall constitute sufficient ground for your separation from the housfng project. Let me congratulate you for the opportunity granted to you, and, let me add, we expect you to reciprocate, in a similar way, the confidence we have just placed in you. Ver y truly yours, P.B.VAZQUEZCALCERRADA Executive Director


BUILDING MATERIAL$ REQUIRED FOR A TYPICAL DWELLING 18' x 18' Meteríai s Cement {bags) at S1 . 00

: Footi ng

: Found . Walls

: Roof Walls : Slab

~ Fioor


8 13 12 42 25 100 $ 8.00: $13.00 :$12.00: $42 . 00: $25 . 00 : $100 . 00

Sand (Cu . Meters) at S 1.25

2 2.50:

1 1.25

1 1.25:

3 3.75

Grovel (Cu . Meters ) at $2.75

2 5.50:

2 5 .50

6 2 : 5.50 : 16 . 50

3 3.75

10 12.50

4 11. 00 :

16 44 . 00 2.4 16. 40



1.2 8 .20

0.4 2 . 73

1.30 8 . 88

o o

3 . 25 : 22 . 20

2 .40 16 . 39

6.95 47 .47

1 0 . 09

2 0 . 18

o o

8 0 . 72

5 0.45

16 1.44

Elec tric Conduit (e oc h) ot S. 84

o o

o o

o o

2 1.68

o o

2 1. 68

Elec tri e Out let Boxes (eoc h) ot $0.17

o o

o o

o o

5 . 85

5 . 85

Door & Wi ndow Fromes at $0.10 BFM

o o

o o

o o

1/4" Re inforcing Stee l o t$6 . 83c wt.

0 .5 3.42

3/8" Rein forc ing Stee l ot $6 . 83 cwt .

o o

Foste ni ng Wi re ot S . 09 lb.



0.3 2 . 05

o o

86 8 .60

o o

86 8 .60

: S19.5 1 : $30.86 : $187 5:$103 . 65: $60 . 17 : $232.94








§ el


l111J! C01t),(WIIPWfl


lb áiieccitin ele ~ de ~a cj&rnitú~fi'AciÓil eS~ ~r49fant~



·~~~~- ~ J.!Nt.¿f{fiti ~e~y.~:~:~~-~ : ~} ~i~·





·h ·


-~~k .¡~·



~dale~ • .f~a ~5múru$'to·.adón óe 3Pa~ram~ ~daft~ fe {a!ililii tb:s male.UafeJ de ~ en chfidaó dE :J>~ y leJ pitW~ tUiJ/encia técnica y ~ . olaJ f_a.mifioJ p uwepeMn mllntY · c~e o!J~a .iúz ~citin al9una en fa eonit:Aua:ibn de .fui flirrient!o;. cfn iectlllOCimie.rtfD- alJaeü/l:cio- y e&/ pei&Mafpo2a fler¡Q4 a ~~eitin eJh p-iti!Jec/o; n oJ Ctm1p{acem(}J en ofbi!Ja~ eJie


~~ 'ená~ ck ~i:e~atfq~ ~&Wenurde c4yuáa ~Ül ~ ~utua en ea dd JJaMitl' de

.fl~-:P.·_ ,

-{~ ll[3'i1Q[I[)~JA~~ <t\OOI:i}-


~, pahfe d el o-tu~ de


~' J~ 'f' ~<I!Dtp1mamenuc ~e ~~raeultu¡·a ~ ~mer~ttó ~ ~

, ::· _ .


. ~t~iótt s~~-,, r~Jlrluna!r ~





}> .., .., m


Appro pri otion of fun ds for the deve lopment of lo w cost housing

1949 - 1958 Year

: Regu l a r : Emergency : Appropriation : Appropriation

Special Appropr iatio n


Do nations



; $1 o1000.00 ;


161315 . 44:


. $ 401 000










500,000 : 3691275.50 :


200,000 ;



331374 .50 : 53,674.67 : 401000

:2 ,8151000 :422,950.1 7 G RAND



: $661 130 . 00

1: 99,689.94


. . . . . . $3,403, 770 . 11



1950-51 to 1958-59

Ye ar

Average cost per un it


$ 308.00 *


328 . 33 *

1952- 53

323.31 *


308.28 **










349. 11


* **

Concrete blocks we r e used during these year s . Since 1953 and thereafter. the reinfo ~ced conc r ete building system was adopted. Th1s change m construction method res ulted in a systematic decrease in cost s. Neve r thel ess inc r easecl salaries and rises in costs of mate rial and equip~ m ent are reflec ted in the fin al cost per dwe lling.



- -- - -- ·





1958-59 :



1956-57 :

. : ..


:' Soci e ti es

1955-56 :







: 10,821




.. .. : ..



.. ..

.. .. .. .. . ..







Societies In Projects


.. ..

. . . .. .. . .. 7,563







28,613 .44

38,604 . 75

: $181 ,262.8 1 :


. .. ..



: $49,061.86








Savings Societies No. of : : Anount : Societies :

Number of Families

: Cost of Total Numbe of Dwellings



: $49,06 1.86:

2, 288

$446,652 . 23

1956- 57


38, 604.75 :

1' 32 1

46 1, 207 .18



28,613.44 :

1' 31 4

44 1,850 .75



64,982.76 :


875 ,000.00


:$181, 262.81:



$2 , 224 , 8 10 . 16

Housing in Puerto Rico Under the Mutual Aid and Self-Help Program (1960)  

By Dr. P. B. Vázquez Calcerrada. World Planning and Housing Congress May 28 - June 3, 1960, San Juan, P.R.

Housing in Puerto Rico Under the Mutual Aid and Self-Help Program (1960)  

By Dr. P. B. Vázquez Calcerrada. World Planning and Housing Congress May 28 - June 3, 1960, San Juan, P.R.