TACLOBAN CITY- A nongovernment organization convened 500 survivors of supertyphoon Yolanda into homeowners associations to ensure that they will be empowered in building houses that are typhoon-resilient. Princess Asuncion-Esponilla, information officer of the Urban Poor Associates (UPA), which initiated the gathering, said 14 homeowners associations from Tacloban, considered the ground zero of Yolanda, attended the gathering held at the gymnasium of the Leyte Normal University. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was also part of said activity. Esponilla said that the gathering of the homeowners associations was part of their vision of building resilient and empowered communities in Tacloban which bore the brunt of Yolanda. Formation of association will strengthen and unite Yolanda survivors to ensure that all their concerns will be addressed — land, permanent and temporary houses, jobs, health, administrations of the work, and participation in major decision making, she added. She said that the Homeowners’ Associations in Yolanda-affected areas were formally recognized by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). (RESTITUTO A. CAYUBIT)