Puerto Rican hurricane survivors to be evicted from FEMA Housing


Nicole Goodkind (Newsweek) writes that Puerto Rican hurricane survivors are soon to be evicted from FEMA housing and offered a one-way ticket back to the devastated island. Read full article at Newsweek:

Nearly 1,800 Puerto Rican hurricane survivors scattered across the United States will be evicted from their temporary housing this weekend, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“After 10 months of providing emergency shelter through Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA), FEMA is ending the program on June 30 for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria survivors,” the agency wrote in a statement. “Intended to provide emergency shelter, TSA is a temporary solution that bridges survivors into more permanent options.”

The program has spent $432 million on lodging, typically in hotel rooms, for the hurricane survivors and has successfully transitioned 97 percent of TSA participants into more permanent home solutions. But uncertainty abounds for the remaining 3 percent who will be forced to leave their hotel rooms Sunday morning. A FEMA representative told Newsweek Thursday that the agency has offered counseling and a free one-way ticket back to Puerto Rico to all who remain in the program.

Still, some advocates say that FEMA hasn’t done enough to care for displaced Puerto Ricans, especially when compared with its response to Hurricane Katrina and Rita. “The same program for those displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were extended to 26 months. PR victims have only been given 9 months,” tweeted Lin Manuel Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, Thursday.

The 1,800 survivors left in TSA housing are “people with health issues, no family members and other extenuating circumstances,” Federico de Jesús co-founder of BoricuActivatEd, a political advocacy group and member of Power 4 Puerto Rico told Newsweek. “There’s no reason they should be left to fend for themselves, it’s inhumane.” The largest share of families requiring housing assistance currently reside in the Osceola and Orange counties in Florida, where housing is expensive and hard to come by. Orange County, home to the city of Orlando, is the third worst area in the country for affordable rent, according to the The National Low Income Housing Coalition. A shortage in affordable housing comes partially from a lack of funding, In March, Florida spent $185 million flagged for housing trust funds on school safety, according to the Orlando Sentinel. [. . .]

For full article, see http://www.newsweek.com/puerto-rico-fema-housing-hurricane-maria-irene-1000318

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