Checks presented to evacuees made homeless by Hurricane Maria

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – The Hispanic Federation, in partnership with other community organizations, presented $1,000 checks to the remaining Puerto Rican families in Central Florida made homeless by Hurricane Maria.

Members of the organization said at least 43 families were still living in hotels, but FEMA cut off funding Thursday that would help with housing arrangements. The money is to help them transition into other housing situations.

“With the end of the federal aid program for temporary housing for these families expiring today, we call on our Central Florida neighbors to help the vulnerable families who have been unable to find long-term housing to date,” State Sen. Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) said.

Half of those families have been able to secure temporary housing in hotels, or permanent housing in other counties, while the other half are still searching.

Rev. Jose Rodriguez with the Jesus de Nazareth Episcopal Church is trying to secure housing for the 25 remaining families without housing.

Anyone who wants to donate or can help is asked to call Rodriguez at (407) 706-7313.

Many of the families have been struggling to find a residence because of rental costs and qualification barriers. While most are working, others suffer from illnesses, are elderly or have other special needs.