FEMA

Displaced Puerto Rican families who were preparing to leave their hotels and motels on Thursday will get to stay a bit longer.

A judge has stopped FEMA from ending its housing assistance program for Puerto Rican families displaced by hurricane Maria. 

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Ariana Colón’s 1-year-old son Sebastian shows off his first word – “Mamá” – as she speaks with me over the phone from the hotel room in Kissimmee, Florida, where they’ve been living this year.

Along with Sebastian’s father, they arrived there shortly after Hurricane Maria devastated their home island, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, last September.

The family has benefited from a federal program for disaster victims called Transitional Sheltering Assistance. It pays their hotel tab while they find gainful employment and permanent housing.

But meeting landlord conditions for that housing has proven as difficult for Puerto Ricans like Colón as it so often does for longtime Florida residents.

Jonathan Schilling / Creative Commons

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the federal government signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Carnival Corporation to help house federal aid workers and first responders on the company's Fascination cruise ship in the United States Virgin Islands.

FEMA Chief Preaches Local Preparedness For Disasters

May 17, 2018

Local officials across Florida shouldn’t rely on the federal government to be on the ground everywhere a day or days after the next natural disaster, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday during the annual Governor’s Conference on Hurricanes.

Updated 5:58 p.m. ET

The last of the federal government's power restoration crews are scheduled to leave Puerto Rico when their contract expires next week, leaving the island's power utility with the task of energizing the last 1.5 percent of customers still waiting eight months after Hurricane Maria.

But on Wednesday, the island's representative in Congress asked the federal government not to send its crews home.

With another hurricane season around the corner, there could be some changes to the way school districts and counties receive reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the cost of storm shelters.

County officials in the Florida Keys are looking to get federal money to reimburse them for expenses related to Hurricane Irma. Monroe County officials traveled to Washington DC last week to meet with FEMA officials.

The county has submitted about $16 million in expenses for reimbursement.

So far, FEMA has approved about $3.9 million. Now the county is waiting for the state's Department of Emergency Management to sign off.

Governor Rick Scott is heading to Puerto Rico Monday.

WLRN

There is assistance available to homeowners and business owners who are still recovering from Hurricane Irma damage. We spoke with John Mills of FEMA and Richard Daigle of the SBA on Sundial to answer listener questions about how to get that assistance.

Juan Luis Martinez / AP

Seven weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory is still struggling to restore power, water and other basic needs. Things only got more muddled on Friday with the sudden resignation of the island’s emergency management director.

AP

WASHINGTON — The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says there was “a lot wrong” with a $300 million no-bid contract awarded to a tiny Montana company to aid Puerto Rico.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long tells Congress that FEMA officials only learned about the contract awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings after it had been signed by the board of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

The head of the troubled utility said Sunday he would seek to cancel the contract, amid scrutiny from multiple federal and congressional investigations.

Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Friday it’s extending the deadline to apply for disaster assistance.

Originally the deadline was Nov. 9. It’s been extended to Nov. 24 in all Florida counties designated for relief.

Those affected by Hurricane Irma who apply for FEMA disaster assistance, shouldn’t consider an initial denial of aid the final word.


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