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STATEMENT: With FEMA Assistance Absent, CAP Calls on Congress to Provide Immediate Housing Assistance to Families Displaced by 2017 Hurricanes

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) decided not to continue providing housing assistance to thousands of Puerto Rican families displaced by hurricanes Irma and Maria through the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) Program. Enrique Fernández-Toledo, director of the Puerto Rico Relief and Economic Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement: 

Hurricane season is underway, and Puerto Rico is still undergoing recovery, one year after hurricanes Irma and Maria blanketed them. Despite this, the Trump administration’s FEMA once again is abandoning Puerto Ricans today by refusing to extend the Transitional Sheltering Assistance housing subsidies to thousands of displaced families, leaving them without support, a roof, or a place to go as they work to rebuild their lives.  

FEMA continues to refuse to activate the Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) that has been urgently needed by thousands of low-income families whose homes were destroyed by the hurricanes. We call on FEMA to activate DHAP or find other forms of long-term housing assistance for these victims of Hurricane Maria.

This refusal to continue to provide this direct housing assistance is particularly hurtful after FEMA’s admission of severe shortcomings in its response to the Maria disaster in Puerto Rico, where more than 3,000 people died. 

Congress cannot knowingly let families in desperate need fall through the cracks.  

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Rafael J. Medina at rjmedina@americanprogress.org or 202.478.5313.