Washington, D.C. - The Power 4 Puerto Rico coalition released the following statement to commemorate the nine (9) month anniversary of Hurricane Maria making landfall in PuertoRico and to draw attention to the precarious situation facing thousands of displaced families across the continental U.S. inching closer to homelessness.
“Nine months after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, our coalition is disheartened by the mounting evidence showing the federal government’s careless, short-sighted response to one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, campaign director for the Power 4 Puerto Rico coalition. “Unfortunately, it is clear the currentAdministration has not learned from its failures and continues to mistreat thousands of displaced families living in the mainland by stringing them along with short-term housing relief.
“On June 30, FEMA's Transitional Shelter Assistance Program (TSA), which has been providing short-term housing assistance to more than 2,000 displaced Puerto Rican families, will end. Despite pleas from advocates to provide longer-term housing and despite FEMA’s assurances in public hearings that they would act, the federal government has failed to make any progress to provide housing stability to these families. If FEMA fails to act, many of these families will be made homeless in cities they’ve barely become familiar with, despite not having a home to return to in Puerto Rico. This is morally reprehensible.
“We applaud Puerto Rico’s allies on both sides of the aisle who have called for near- and long-term housing solutions for displaced families, including an expansion of the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) and the Direct Lease program. We call on FEMA and HUD to provide the best available form of long-term housing relief for displaced families, and to heed the calls of Members of Congress and Puerto Rico’s elected representatives.”
Power 4 Puerto Rico is a coalition of organizations, leaders, and advocates from across the nation calling on Congress and the Administration to adopt an ambitious, new agenda that will put Puerto Rico’s economy on the road to future growth and prosperity. The coalition includes 32BJ Service Employees International Union, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), BoricuActívate, Center for American Progress (CAP), Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), Hedge Clippers, Hispanic Federation, Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), Labor Council For Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), Make the Road (New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey), UnidosUS, Vamos 4 Puerto Rico, and many more.