Displaced families from Puerto Rico are asking for help from elected officials as they face the loss of FEMA and Red Cross assistance.
Families staying in local hotels visited the Springfield offices of Senators Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren on Thursday, asking for solutions as deadlines loom.
According to the Pioneer Valley Project, many families have been given a final FEMA deadline of Friday and a Red Cross deadline of April 24, “without any path to permanent housing or certainty about where they will sleep after their deadline date.”
Jim Cantwell from Senator Markey’s office said that he, along with Senator Warren, will be working to extend the temporary program assistance.
In a joint statement sent by Senators Warren and Markey, they said:
The federal government is failing the Puerto Rican people, including those displaced by the devastating hurricanes. For months, we have been fighting for our fellow U.S. citizens, who deserve much better. We hear the urgent concerns of many in the local community about the upcoming shelter assistance deadline, and we are continuing to press FEMA both for immediate relief and for a longer-term solution.”
Springfield City Councilor Adam Gomez told 22News many of the displaced residents are fearing they’ll become homeless.
“FEMA was telling them just a little while ago that some of them had to go back home, but there is an island-wide blackout that was happening there just yesterday,” Gomez said. “Things aren’t stabilized back home and things obviously aren’t stabilized here.”
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico nearly seven months ago. According to the Pioneer Valley Project, Massachusetts has seen the second highest influx of displaced people from Puerto Rico since the hurricane.