NYC to help displaced Puerto Ricans as FEMA aid expires

Liz Cruz left Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island and destroyed her home. On December 7, she, her husband, and children arrived in New York.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency placed hundreds of Puerto Rican families like the Cruz's in hotels across the city. But the assistance they are receiving from FEMA will run out on Saturday.

Cruz couldn't hold back her tears as she explained that her family is now scrambling to find a place to live. She said the uncertainty is frustrating.

In a statement to Fox 5, a spokesperson for the mayor's office said, "The Trump Administration abandoned the people of Puerto Rico. Our Mayor will not. We will shelter our fellow U.S. citizens and we will do all we can to help them to get back on their feet."

More than 100 households are receiving FEMA's transitional shelter assistance, also known as TSA, according to the city. Those families will be receiving direct transportation directly from their TSA hotel rooms to hotel rooms operated by the Department of Homeless Services.

Cruz said she was told that her family will be picked on Friday. The city did confirm to Fox 5 that Cruz and her family will be taken to a shelter. The city said it will provide Puerto Rican families with case management services to connect them to housing, social services, and educational supports.

More than 130 Puerto Rican households that did not qualify for the FEMA TSA program are in the process of applying for shelter. Some are already in the shelter system.

Senator Gustavo Rivera released this statement after the original publication of this article: "With two days remaining until the June 30 deadline, FEMA has once again failed to put forth any sort of long-term actionable plan to help those Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricane Maria across the country, including those in New York City, transition into permanent housing. In the void left by FEMA, New York City, which is facing a homelessness and housing crisis of their own, has stepped up and developed a plan to provide a safety net to those Puerto Rican families who will be evicted by the federal government on Saturday. However, it is critical that this plan is implemented efficiently so that these families, who have been forced to leave their homes, receive the resources and services they desperately need. While this is a step in the right direction, there’s still a lot of work to be done and I am committed to continue working with our City and State governments to ensure my fellow Puerto Ricans have access to the resources they need to rebuild their lives."