The Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. (PRAB) is a private, nonprofit corporation established in 1971. Its purpose is to develop action systems to address community needs, coordinate available community resources and administrate programs that improve the quality of life of the low income community of the central New Jersey area.
The Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc.’s beginnings consisted of modest volunteer efforts to provide English classes to recently arrived Hispanics. When necessary, clients were also assisted with securing a high school equivalency diploma. By 1974, the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. began to receive funding from the New Jersey State Department of Education for its E.S.L. and G.E.D. programs. Shortly thereafter, funds were secured to establish the first full time, bilingual/multi-cultural curriculum designed Day Care Center for children, ages 2 ½ to 5 in New Jersey.
Over the years the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. has intensified its efforts to improve local neighborhoods by providing: child care, youth development, job training and placement opportunities, housing counseling, rehabilitation, construction and weatherization of homes, community advocacy, and community development activities. These social services are provided to economically disadvantaged individuals and families throughout the central New Jersey area. In 1992, the organization assisted the City of New Brunswick in procuring $2,000,000 to implement a successful Police Community Partnership Program. The program incorporated the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. to work with a “Neighborhood Police Team” in order to reduce crime through a multifaceted approach.
The Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. now employs more than one hundred staff members involved in a variety of human service programs.
The Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. serves all people regardless of age, race, creed, color, national origin, ancestry, familial status, sex, sexual orientation or functional impairment. The Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. is one of the few service providers in New Brunswick, and the immediate surrounding municipalities that can effectively provide bilingual/bicultural diversity in its services. Through its unique approach, the program serves as a proactive agent for individuals and families whose needs may otherwise go unmet due to language barriers, discrimination and lack of cultural competency.
The Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. presently operates its projects out of five facilities. The modern, three story, state of the art Mario Gonzalez Child Development Center is located at 287 Townsend Street in New Brunswick. It was constructed in 1994. This site houses a portion of a local school district Preschool program, serving a total of 60 children and their families. Another site is based at 74 Drift Street and is within short walking distance from the Mario Gonzalez Child Development Center. The location houses the Daycare Program, serving 40 children and their families.
Another modern, three story, state of the art Preschool Center was constructed in 1999 and is located at 18 Drift Street in New Brunswick. Development of this building permitted the expansion of preschool programs to assist the New Brunswick School District with meeting its Abbott vs. Burke early childhood requirements. This facility provides preschool services to 165 additional children in eleven classrooms. Its location is ideal in terms of accessibility for the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. s target community in New Brunswick. The facility has playground space, some off-street parking and sits across the street from the Middlesex County Family Court, retail space, Middlesex County College New Brunswick Campus, and a multi-level parking garage.
Most recent, in an effort to better address the growing issues of improving housing conditions of Middlesex County residents, the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. successfully merged with the Housing Coalition of Central Jersey in July 2007. The Housing Coalition has been a HUD certified Housing Counseling Agency since 1991. The merger combined the strengths and resources of two strong, reputable, community driven organizations into one. The combined organization operates under the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. name. The Housing Coalition staff, along with the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. ’s Better Housing Program, now operates under the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. ’s newly formed Housing Coalition Unit. The Unit provides the following counseling services: homebuyer education; pre-purchase counseling; fair housing assistance; rental counseling; mortgage delinquency; loss mitigation; default counseling; Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) counseling; and other credit counseling services, such as First Home Club. Staff also conducts community education to various groups and agencies throughout the service region.
In 2007, the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. + was also awarded and established the Middlesex County Family Success Center. The Family Success Center is a community-based, family-centered, neighborhood gathering place where any community resident can go for family support, information and services. The Centers provides some services directly and collaborates with other agencies to provide their services on site or, where necessary, help arrange access to off-site resources.
In addition, as part Middlesex County consortia, the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. provides additional case management services to the Differential Response Initiative
In terms of physical development, the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. constructed and owns four two-bedroom apartments on Townsend Street in New Brunswick that are rented to low and moderate income families. The Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. also rehabilitated and owns fourteen additional apartments which in the process of being converted for commercial use to generate revenue to support its human services programs. In addition, the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. owns two additional lots in New Brunswick. One 3,100 sq. ft. lot is utilized as a playground for the children at the Mario Gonzalez Child Development Center. The other 5,000 sq. ft. lot is currently utilized as a parking facility for the employees of the Daycare and Preschool Programs.
To provide services that improve the quality of life of the low income population of central New Jersey in a bilingual and bicultural setting, and to continue our historic role as advocates for the Latino community.
Through the shared commitment of our funders, supporters, Board, and staff, the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. will be the premier human services agency in the state of New Jersey.
• People of all races and ethnicities seek the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. ’s assistance when they are in need.
• Immigrants feel welcomed and receive comprehensive assistance to become part of this society.
• The Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. is a model for quality delivery of social, housing, and educational programs.
• People are proud and motivated to work for the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc.
• Funders are eager to support the high quality of service that the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. provides.
The Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. is committed to providing outstanding services to our clients and exceeding our supporter’s expectations. The Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. ’s core values are:
• Providing fairness and respect to our clients and staff.