FEMA program helps Puerto Rican evacuees get housing

By Stephanie Bechara, Osceola County Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, November 09, 2017, 12:34 PM EST

Yolanda Cruz and Luis Navarro Algarin are now calling a family suite at Super 8 home.

Navarro Algarin is from Puerto Rico, and he says on top of his losses, the lack of electricity over there was also affecting his weekly dialysis.

The Transitional Sheltering Assistance program by FEMA pays hotels directly so victims don't have to pay anything out of pocket. The federal government pays for the rooms at a negotiated lower rate, one reason why some hoteliers choose not to participate.

However that doesn't deter businessmen like Prerak Patel at Super 8.

"I am originally from India. I migrated here and I believe in one concern you help the people, God will help you," Patel said.

There are nearly 200 families of Hurricane Maria checked into hotels all over the state under this program.

Navarro Algarin is one of them. He said he is grateful to have a place to stay, but hopes his island can be rebuilt soon, so he can go back.

"We've always pushed forward and this won't be the exception," he said in Spanish.

A spokesperson for FEMA says their goal is to essentially get these families out of hotels and into stable living conditions.

If you need help with housing as an Puerto Rico evacuee, check out the FEMA website.