• FEMA funding, housing problems continue for Puerto Rican evacuees

    By: Lauren Seabrook


    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - It’s been five months since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and many evacuees came to Central Florida for emergency housing.

    Evacuees spoke Tuesday at the Orange County Commission meeting to ask commissioners to support state affordable housing bills.

    “I’m working a part-time job, and it’s not enough to rent an apartment,” said Marieliza Figueroa, an evacuee from Puerto Rico.

    >>> Read more stories about Puerto Rico <<<

    She and other Hurricane Maria evacuees told commissioners they've been to more than 30 apartments trying to find a place to live.

    The apartment waiting lists are more than a year long at some places, and some complexes are asking for three months worth of rent up front, which is about $4,000.

    Genette Marrero and her daughter and granddaughters became homeless Tuesday morning.

    "I really don't want to go back to Puerto Rico, and I want to grow with all of you here,” Marrero said.

    "Protecting the Sadowsky Act is one of our highest legislative priorities. It has been every year. Unfortunately, that hasn't changed the outcome of the raid on the trust fund,” said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

    Jacobs agreed to bring back a resolution at the next meeting to reinforce their support, but Orange County's support doesn't change anything right now. 

    The bills are in state lawmakers' hands with three weeks left in the session.

    FEMA’s hotel funding runs out March 20.

    Next Up: