Puerto Rican families still uncertain about future after housing extension

(Western Mass News photo)

Uncertainty continues for many Puerto Rican families living in hotels in West Springfield after Hurricane Maria.

The government granted an extension for the transitional shelter assistance program last week, allowing families on FEMA funding to stay in hotels until May 14.

However, the families are looking for a more permanent solution and said that they haven't received any help with that.

"We're still insecure about what's going to happen because we don't know what's going to happen." said Brenda Hernandez, an evacuee.

"We're still in the same situation, we still have no clarity of what's going to happen," said Rosa Rosado, an evacuee.

The families told Western Mass News they are looking for permanent housing after the May deadline expires.

The families said that they've been reaching out to FEMA and the Red Cross about housing options daily, but are facing obstacles with proof of income and residency, which they said complicates the process.

"We are uncomfortable at the hotel because we do not want to stay at the hotel. We want to go to a home," Rosado added.

Last week, the families were told by staffers from Senator Warren and Senator Markey's offices that they would hear from them this week about ways to find housing permanently.

The families said that, so far, that hasn't happened.

"Ultimately, the goal is to get people in permanent housing, so we're really concerned that while the senators offices did come out to Springfield and meet with families individually. Ultimately, the problem isn't solved until people can settle in with a permanent house," said Tara Parrish with the Pioneer Valley Project.

Parrish said that there are still many ways you can help these Puerto Rican families, but urges people to go though an organization.

"There are needs, absolutely, but they need to be organized because otherwise, they're not really benefiting the families," Parrish noted.

For more information, you can contact Tara Parrish at (413) 827-0781.

We have reached out to Senators Markey and Warren's office, but have not yet received a response.

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

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