Puerto Ricans struggle to find housing in Central Florida

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Puerto Ricans who came to Central Florida in the wake of Hurricane Maria told Eyewitness News that they’re still having trouble finding a place to live.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has been providing money to pay for hotel rooms for evacuees, will stop doing so in two weeks.

There are at least 71 families who fled Puerto Rico following the hurricane and are living in hotels along U.S. 192 in Kissimmee.

“I can't even sleep. I can't even eat, thinking, 'Where are we going to stay with my kids?” said Desiree Torres, who has three children.

She and her children have been living in a Super 8 Motel since November and her federal assistance for housing expires Feb. 14.

“My experience has been struggling. It's very hard. Thank God, a lot of church has helped,” Torres said.

Torres said she’s been applying for jobs and trying to find a place to live without any luck.

“I am filling my documents of housing and they just tell me you have to wait until 30 to 90 days. Like, I just only have two weeks,” Torres said.

Some people have gotten extensions for FEMA’s transitional shelter assistance until March 20, but the Torres family was denied.

A spokesperson for FEMA told Channel 9's Johny Fernandez that extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis.

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