66ºF

FEMA extends housing assistance deadline: 'I was ecstatic'

Puerto Ricans who were displaced by Hurricane Maria last year

photo

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – FEMA is now giving hundreds of families an extension for housing assistance, which will be a big help for Puerto Ricans who were displaced by Hurricane Maria last year. 

Related: FEMA extends housing program that allows Puerto Ricans to finish school year

On Thursday night, families celebrated the new deadline at the Baymont Inn in Kissimmee.

"I was ecstatic," David Olmeda said. "I was nervous (and) my hands were trembling. I was just
excited to know we were extended (for) our visit."

Olmeda said he's relieved to know he and his wife and their 1-year-old child still have a place to live.

The new extension runs until June 30, FEMA announced.

"It was a very difficult situation," Olmeda said. "We didn't know what would happen after May 13."

​FEMA's announcement extending the Housing Aid Program comes a week after days of protests by families, local elected officials and community allies.

The program aids nearly 600 families around Florida. It's a new date that many are grateful for. 

"We're going to continue fighting and searching for housing," Olmeda said. "As a family, as a group, we're not giving up."

Families said they hope that by the end of the new timeline, they'll be able to sustain themselves on their own without needing any more assistance.