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Puerto Rican Families In Connecticut At Risk Of Losing FEMA Assistance Given Reprieve

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Ryan Caron King
/
WNPR
Several Puerto Rican families live in the Red Roof Inn, left, in Hartford under FEMA's Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program.

State officials say that several dozen Puerto Rican families who were at risk of losing federal housing assistance could now have their stay in Connecticut extended until mid-February.

FEMA had extended Transitional Sheltering Assistance -- or TSA -- until March. The program houses families who left Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in hotels and motels.

But some families receiving assistance in Connecticut were deemed ineligible for renewal -- leaving several families to pack their bags over the weekend not knowing if they would have a place to live.

State Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection spokesperson Scott Devico said the state provided emergency assistance to families who stopped receiving TSA over the weekend.  

He said Governor Dannel Malloy had also asked for an extension of TSA for the ineligible families.

“Governor Malloy’s request for an extension of the TSA program was granted by FEMA over the weekend,” Devico said. “That extension will now make those individuals eligible for TSA assistance until February 14.”

Daniel Llargues, a spokesperson for FEMA, said it’s up to the families to get in touch with FEMA to determine the assistance that best suits their individual needs.

“It’s based on the needs of the survivors, based on what they are looking for and what they need to transition from something temporary to something more permanent,” he said.

Llargues said that evacuees should not assume that their TSA will be automatically extended until the program’s end date in March.

Ryan Caron King joined Connecticut Public in 2015 as a reporter and video journalist. He was one of eight dedicated reporters on the New England News Collaborative’s launch team, covering regional issues such as immigration, the environment, transportation, and the opioid epidemic. His work has been published nationally on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Here & Now, and on NPR’s digital platforms. From 2017 to 2018, Ryan was on a team covering the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for “Excellence in Video.” Since 2019, he has been a full-time visuals journalist.

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