About Us

Founded in 2015, PRP is a response to the opioid crisis in Puerto Rico. A large population of people ended up on the streets in Chicago from Puerto Rico left without resources, food, or transportation and experiencing language barriers and culture shock. Melissa worked with the media to bring awareness to the Puerto Rico to Chicago pipeline situation. While there are not currently as many people from this pipeline on Chicago’s streets, the services we provide are still in high demand in our communities. However, we still push forward, continue to bring awareness to the opioid crisis, and provide resources to our communities.  

The Puerto Rico Project serves individuals that are negatively impacted by stigma and harm. We began our outreach services by providing meals to folks experiencing homelessness, but quickly learned that we could be doing so much more for communities. Our current services include meals, harm reduction, and access to other basic human needs. We strive to connect with the people we serve so we can better understand and meet their needs. 

Throughout the years, our operation has transformed in ways we never could have imagined. Thanks to the loyal support of our funders, we have grown to become a known resource in the community that provides quality care with compassion. To everyone who has supported us, thank you for making our dream a reality.

Our Community & Impact

number of overdose deaths in Cook County in 2023
$ 0.5
of every $1.00 donated goes to directly to participant services
years of experience working in the community

Our Mission

Illinois reported nearly 4,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2022 alone. This is an 89% increase compared to 2019. Despite government efforts to prioritize racial equity in response to overdose deaths, Black and Latine communities are disproportionately impacted by fatal overdose and are often left out of discussions about the opioid epidemic. 

PRP’s mission is to improve quality of life for those affected by stigma and harm. Through expanding access to harm reduction supplies, our goal is to reduce the number of fatal and non-fatal overdoses in our community. We strictly adhere to a “nothing for us without us” model, which incorporates and uplifts the voices of Black and Latine people who use drugs (PWUD) at every step of our process. 

This is important work. We serve a dynamic community of people that are often overlooked in society. Due to the incredibly damaging stigma against people who use drugs (PWUD), folks are left without resources or support. Harm reduction is more than just meeting people where they are at and showing up with compassion and empathy; harm reduction also means access to quality care, access to housing, and access to basic needs.


93 cents of every dollar we receive goes to our participants and community through direct services.

Community Testimonials

Destiny Botello, 37, honest communication is essential in providing meaningful help to people experiencing homelessness. “A lot of people just assume what we need and dump it,” she said, describing waking up to a pile of unwanted items outside of her tent. Botello said asking people what they need reveals necessities that people not experiencing homelessness don’t always think about.
Destiny Botello
“We received a phone call from a community member that said “thank you for helping my mom and not judging her!” Another gentleman who we serve said “God bless you all and thank you for helping the adictos!” The pleasure is ours! We are all to familiar with the stigma wrapped around being unsheltered, sex work, experiencing untreated behavioral health challenges, and severe drug use. This should NEVER mean we don’t deserve access to basic rights which include quality care!!
Community Member

Awards & Certifications

Champion of Justice Award, June 2022

Award for serving the Latino community, November 2015

Community Award, October 2019

Award for Hispanic Heritage month by Chicago Public Schools Network 8, October 2023

Our Sponsors