Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria call on officials for - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria call on officials for more aid

Posted: Updated:
(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

More than two dozen people who fled Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria - now living in a hotel in West Springfield - rallied for help before a disaster relief deadline tomorrow.

On Friday, disaster relief from FEMA for families that are living in Massachusetts following Hurricane Maria's wrath could come to an end.

That is why a group of people came to Springfield, calling for help before it's too late.

"It was just horrible, like no power. you couldn't connect with other people," said Alice Mitchell.

Alice Mitchell and Adrian Cosby are survivors of Hurricane Maria and current students at West Springfield Middle School. 

"I don't know where I'm going to tomorrow and I don't know what's going to happen," Mitchell added.

On Friday, the federal funding for temporary housing is set to run out for many families who traveled to Massachusetts to escape the devastation on the island.  

Some of them fear they'll be homeless.

"Sadness and kind of like scared," Cosby said.

On Thursday, more than two dozen of those affected rallied outside of Senator Warren and Markey's offices in Springfield, holding signs and looking for answers. 

"Having my own room, just having like my space," Cosby added.

Neither senator was there to listen, so this group decided to call them.

"We have requested that this program be extended," said Markey's state director Jim Cantwell,

Cantwell spoke with these families in place of the senators over the phone.

"There are more than 400 people currently in the same circumstances," Cantwell added.

In the end, these people who say they just want to return home to Puerto Rico never got the answers they were looking for or the peace of mind for the future.

For now, these families will continue to stay in a West Springfield hotel, which costs nearly $130 a night or about $3,800 a month.

It's money that FEMA and the Red Cross disaster relief programs have been supplying for temporary housing and money these families wouldn't be able to afford on their own.

Fortunately for Mitchell, she does have family locally and therefore, options.  

However, as for Cosby, he isn't so lucky and he said that the thought of being homeless, again, is haunting him.

Thursday afternoon, Senators Markey and Warren sent a letter to FEMA asking them to allow families in Transitional Shelter Assistance in Massachusetts to continue living in those shelters because of the continued power outages in Puerto Rico and limited financial resources for many of the evacuees.

Senators Markey and Warren said in a joint statement:

 “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.”

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, WGGB/WSHM; Springfield, MA. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.