Families desperate as state scrambles to extend shelter program for Puerto Rican evacuees

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are reviewing a request by the governor of Puerto Rico to extend federal resources for evacuees.

Many who have been living in hotels as part of the Transitional Shelter Assistance Program will have no place to go, including David Olmeda, who has been living at a Super 8 motel in Kissimmee.

He’s one of 1,800 people in Central Florida who could be homeless by the weekend if FEMA doesn’t approve the extension.

“I work in the night. My wife is there with my baby,” he said. “It’s difficult. FEMA doesn’t understand. If I go to Puerto Rico, I have no house, no work.”

Congressman Darren Soto is one of several Florida lawmakers pushing for the extension.

“Obviously, that was a sign for us to go into crisis mode,” he said.

The governor of Puerto Rico sent a letter to FEMA on Wednesday asking it to extend the TSA Program through June 30. He wrote, "This timeline will permit our displaced residents the additional time they need to have their children complete school and return home."

It comes just days after he was pushing for people to return to the island.

A spokesperson for FEMA said it received the request in the afternoon and it’s now under review.

Soto said the request is unconditional to ensure the families won't be kicked out before the deadline.

"A step in the right direction of resolving this crisis, but it's a shame that it had to happen," he said.

The deadline nears on the same day the unstable electrical grid failed again in Puerto Rico, knocking out power to the entire island.

It’s still unclear when FEMA will make the decision.

Click here for more info on the TSA program.

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