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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Senate president expects homelessness bill to become law

By The Star Staff

Senate President José Luis Dalmau Santiago said Thursday he expects Senate Bill 0778, which addresses the problem of homelessness in Puerto Rico, to pass in the House of Representatives and eventually become law.

“It is essential that as a country we understand the complexity of the situation of homeless people and address the root of the problem,” Dalmau Santiago said.

“My call is that this bill be addressed as soon as possible so that all sectors and government agencies can join their efforts to combat homelessness on the island,” he added.

The bill, an initiative of Sen. José Vargas Vidot, aims to establish the “Plan to Address the Homelessness Phenomenon in Puerto Rico” and creates the Office of Support for the Homeless Population.

According to recent data from the Continuous Care System (COC by its Spanish initials) PR-502, the northern part of the island has seen an increase of 51 cases of homelessness compared to 2022, reaching a total of 1,077 people without a permanent roof. Of that number, 52.6% are facing homelessness for the first time.

In addition, COC PR-502 reported an increase in the number of women living on the street, from 24% to 26.4% of the total homeless population.

“The situation of homeless people in Puerto Rico is cause for immediate attention,” Dalmau Santiago said. “We cannot allow our fellow citizens to live in these precarious conditions.”

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