79ºF

Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria say they could soon be homeless

Tent city set up outside of meeting with Republican leaders

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Outside the Gaylord Palms Resort where Florida Republican leaders met for the Sunshine Summit, dozens of families from Puerto Rico set up what they call a “tent city“ showing Republican leaders that this is where hundreds of families in Central Florida could be living in if there isn’t a short-term housing solution by Saturday.

On Saturday, FEMA’s Temporary Sheltering Assistance program, which offers free hotel vouchers to Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria, will expire. 

[RELATED: Gov. Rick Scott meets with Puerto Rico's governor at P3 Summit]

According to the group Vamos4PR Action, there are 630 families in Florida still living in hotels, that includes 400 families in Central Florida alone. 

Many of them say they want to stay in Florida since there is instability still on the island, however, finding housing has been a struggle. 

The group set up the “tent city” calling for action by Florida leaders, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

[READ: Puerto Rico residents see slow recovery 'day to day']

"Saturday is three days away and we need a solution,” said Jose Castro with Vamos4PR. “Creating a 'tent city' here in Florida because we have no solution right now and the government isn't getting involved enough to help these people.”

Scott was in Orlando for a Senate campaign stop on Wednesday and said the short-term solution has to be up to Puerto Rico’s governor and FEMA. However, he also said he personally is working on a long-term solution and is heading to DC on Thursday. 

[RELATED: This couple in rural Puerto Rico just got their power back-- almost 1 year after Maria]

“I will be in DC tomorrow meeting with Secretary Carson with HUD that will come down and help with low-income housing, workforce housing and affordable housing," Scott said. “It's a total investment, I think, by the federal government when it comes down, I think, $1.4 billion but if you look at all of those programs, the problem is Congress has failed to act. So when I go to DC, I am going to be a doer. I'm not going to be a talker, I am going to be a doer.”
 


About the Author: