Hurricane María

FEMA extends deadline for Temporary Shelter Assistance to Mar. 20

Applicants are responsible for identifying a participating hotel and checking for availability.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed Tuesday it has approved the Puerto Rico government’s request for an extension of the Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program through Mar. 20.

The federal agency approved Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s request on Dec. 29, to benefit Hurricane María survivors who lost their homes in Puerto Rico who initially had through Jan. 13 to seek TSA assistance.

“The Government of Puerto Rico, while enduring a lengthy and arduous recovery effort at home, is committed to providing and facilitating federal assistance to its temporarily displaced residents,” José Marrero, the governor’s Authorized Representative to FEMA, said Dec. 21, when the petition was submitted.

Funding for TSA is covered by FEMA under Section 403 of the Stafford Act, subject to a state cost-share, as explained in its website. TSA is one of several short-term sheltering options being offered, allowing eligible disaster survivors to shelter in a hotel or motel, for a limited period of time.

This is a bridge to other longer-term housing solutions. FEMA makes payments directly to participating hotels and motels for room rental and taxes up to the GSA rate.

FEMA continues to work with the government of Puerto Rico to assess the needs of disaster survivors, the agency said.

FEMA reviews each case for continuing eligibility every thirty days, depending on the need of each survivor the period under the TSA program will be extended and it will work to find permanent housing solutions.

The list of participating hotels under FEMA’s TSA program can be found at the following link. Most of the hotels are in Florida, where some 300,000 Puerto Rico residents have fled to after Hurricanes Irma and María struck in September 2017.

“As we enter the long-term recovery phase, and normalcy is restored, we expect many of these displaced citizens to return to Puerto Rico,” said Frances Ortiz-Molina, regional director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Kissimmee, Florida.

“Nevertheless, it is imperative that FEMA, the federal government, the State of Florida and the government of Puerto Rico work together to provide adequate assistance to all Americans that have been displaced by these two catastrophic hurricanes,” she said in a statement issued Dec. 21.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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