ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Puerto Ricans who have fled to Central Florida following Hurricane Maria told Eyewitness News they’re having trouble finding places to live.
Lydia Santiago Borrero moved from Puerto Rico to Central Florida 16 days ago. She told Channel 9's Lauren Seabrook that she's visited at least 50 apartments without any luck and said she'll be homeless in four days.
State Rep. Renee Placencia has asked Orange County how they plan to address the need to provide mass sheltering.
"I'm very concerned as to what could happen over the next couple of weeks if we don't start having a real concrete plan on how to address mass housing for evacuees,” Placencia said.
United Way has paid for Borrero to stay in a hotel the last two weeks and the Salvation Army has offered to pay one month of rent.
Borrero said it won’t be enough.
"Around a $1,000, but they're asking her that in order for her to qualify and rent them, she has to have at least $3,000 in a bank account for her to qualify to live in that place,” said a person who translated for Borrero.
Borrero said she needs a place to live for one month and Placencia said Orange County has the space.
"We have plenty of land near the airport where we can establish some type of large residence area in close proximity to the receiving center,” Placencia said.
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A spokesperson for Orange County said its exploring land options to put up temporary housing, but it needs the state to provide the resources.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management released the following statement to Channel 9 on the issue:
"It is important to note that FEMA provides disaster survivor housing programs, while disaster survivor sheltering is a local initiative. However, the State proactively and aggressively sought and secured a host state agreement to provide a 100 percent reimbursement mechanism for our community sheltering efforts. Currently, volunteer organizations, working through State coordinated airport relief centers, are providing hotel vouchers to evacuees. In addition, DEM is working with our Federal and local partners to explore and consider all available solutions with regards to housing Hurricane Maria survivors."
Cox Media Group