HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke organizations are preparing for a potential migration from Puerto Rico.
The city’s expecting a lot of people displaced by Hurricane Maria to travel to Holyoke to stay with friends and family members while the island is rebuilt.
A full recovery from Hurricane Maria will take months, if not years in Puerto Rico.
The City of Holyoke in partnership with Enlace de Familias plans to provide temporary relief for victims of Hurricane Maria.
The city will help enroll students in school, as well as make sure they receive proper medical treatment for physical and mental health.
“If this was to happen in any of our 50 states, I think it’s appropriate the federal and government and local government is standing up for those affected,” said Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse. “It’s the American thing to do and it’s the right thing to do.”
Mayor Morse told 22News that the city will be posting an online survey so they can estimate how many friends and family members from Puerto Rico will be migrating to Holyoke.
The City of Holyoke has a larger Puerto Rican population per capita than any other city in the United States.
“We have to be that place that accepts them, that is willing to provide services, not only willing, we have an obligation to provide services,” Betty Medina-Lichtenstein, Executive Director of Enlace de Familias told 22News. “We want welcome them with open arms.”
The state of Massachusetts will be providing assistance to those affected by Hurricane Maria. Governor Charlie Baker has said it’s one of his number one priorities.